This time, with Snehaveedu, the Magical Seven Recipe that make Sathyan Anthikkad films tick and tock has finally been identified. What was most alarming though, was the fact, that it didn't require any in-depth analysis of the film to spot out the Sathyan Anthikkadan recipe of film making.
Ingredient 1: For the last few years, it has either been the father-son combo that Sathyan banks on, in film after film, or it's the mother-son combo. Here it's the latter again, and the inseparable mom-son pair of Ammukkutti Amma and Ajayan does everything that moms and sons in Sathyan films have done all this while. The son doesn't even think of getting married, since he would like to serve momma for the rest of his life.
Ingredient 2: The Anthikkadan hamlet is no ordinary place that you would see on earth. It often falls nothing short of heaven itself. In all probability it would be surrounded by hills on all sides, would have a splendid stream running through, a small cross road junction, and a Private bus service that runs on a tarred road that bifurcates seemingly endless paddy fields. The cows are there as well, but this time I missed the hens. There was a dog instead, though.
Ingredient 3: The individuals that you see all around are mostly made of honey and raisins. Almost everyone of them is always smiles, and very rarely would you bump into someone awful around here. You do get to see a goon trio at some point, but given the way they flee, you would think they have just popped out of the cradle.
Ingredient 4: Where, someone asks, is the twist? There is Karthik, (Rahul Pillai) this boy bombshell that drops out of paradise on Ajayan's doorstep, claiming to be his son. And where does it all lead to? To Syed Ali (Mamukkoya) in Chennai, and an absolutely irrational climax that makes no sense whatsoever.
Ingredient 5: What could be an Anthikkad film without the village drama? Just forget Veendum Chila Veetukaryangal. Ajayan is the head of the local drama troupe in 'Snehaveedu', and is on the look out for a heroine for his new play. Now that doesn't sound familiar, does it?
Ingredient 6: The usual subplot in all Sathyan films happen in the neighbor's house. It's very much there in Snehaveedu as well, and there is the Christian dad (Innocent) who wouldn't see his daughter (Lena) ever since she eloped with a Hindu Sub Inspector (Biju Menon). It takes an accident to make scowling daddy see sense.
Ingredient 7: The last time we had seen Achappam and Kuzhalappam and their magical powers in fortifying broken relationships was in Sathyan Anthikkad's own 'Manassinakkare' and it's the mother of all embarrassing coincidences perhaps that the scene had Sheela and KPAC Lalitha in it as well. Long live Achappam and Kuzhalappam!
Mohanlal is quite at ease playing Ajayan, and Sheela repeats her Manassinakkare act without much of an extra effort. But the scene stealer would be Rahul who brings in the right amount of vulnerability into the character that he plays. Those songs by Ilayaraja do sound like we have heard them all in some Sathyan Anthikkad film or the other, but they are good nevertheless. Venu is brilliant with the cinematography as well.
With all the above mentioned ingredients in the right doses, 'Snehaveedu' remains exactly what you expect it to be - the quintessential Sathyan Anthikkad film. The family audience that has adored Sathyan Anthikkad films for long, is there at the theatres this time as well, but Snehaveedu emits enough smoke to set off the tedium fire alarm.