Manjupoloru Penkutty Malayalam Movie
Director Kamal's latest offering, "Manjupoloru Penkutty: A Snowy Girl", launched at the height of the feud between artistes and the producers in the Malayalam film industry has a new cast, barring a couple of dissident actors like Lalu Alex and Suresh Krishna.
On a scale of 10, the film scores close to seven because of the performance by the newcomers, a unique storyline and the overall treatment of the theme.
The story is about the crises in adolescence, with the themes of child abuse and the disadvantages of having a working mother added to it. So here is a teenage girl Nidhi (Amrita Prakash) narrating to the audience (like Preity Zinta in "Kal Ho Na Ho") her life.
She is a bright student who is losing focus because she has a problem that she cannot discuss with anyone. Meanwhile, we are introduced to her close circle that includes her little sister, her dog, her mother Arundhati (Bhanupriya) who runs a super-mall in the city and a boy Sandeep (Jayakrishnan) who has a crush on her.
As the film unspools, Nidhi confides that her problem is her lecherous stepfather (Suresh Krishna) and she finds no way out of this problem except killing him. So, along with Sandeep and Manuel Uncle (a flirtatious middle-aged man played by Lalu Alex), she hatches a murder plot. From here on, the story takes unprecedented twists and turns at the expense of the film losing its interest.
But, on the plus side, the director steers clear of the potholes in the script. For instance, the relationship between the lead pair is handled quite realistically, except for a dream song shot in what looks like Paris.
The story is similar to Padmarajan's classic "Namukku Parkan Munthirithoppukal" (1986), starring Mohanlal, Sari and Thilakan. But it is to the credit of writer Kalvoor Ravikumar that the story does not readily invite comparisons.
Debutante Amrita Prakash is right for the title role. She has a magnetic screen presence. While displaying anger, however, her contorted face ends up looking unintentionally funny. Jayakrishnan reminds one of the young Vineeth. Lalu Alex as Manuel Uncle is irritating. His character plays to the gallery, and he takes advantage of it. Suresh Krishna looks too suave for his character. Bhanupriya has little scope display her histrionic prowess.
Music by Alphonse Joseph is lacklustre. In the past, it was music that drew the audience to a Kamal film. That cannot be said of his latest offering.
On the whole, "Manjupoloru Penkutty" may not be a huge success like Kamal's recent films "Niram", "Nammal" and "Swapnakoodu", but it is surely worth a dekko.