Karanavar Malayalam Movie ReviewFeature Film
In 'Karanavar', director Jahangeer Shams dusts up a throne that has long been deserted by Mammootty and Mohanlal, and invites Divyadarshan to take a seat. He then proceeds to enthrone the young actor, throwing in all the customary prerequisites that had glorified many a monarch in Mollywood.
Mani (Divyadarshan) takes up the entire responsibility of his family even before entering teenage, when his dad passes away all on a sudden. Hailed as the 'Karanavar' by family members and the villagers alike, he grows up into a strapping man with an instinctive ability to set things right. When his elder brother Sathyan (Mukesh) who had eloped following their dad's demise returns after twenty years, Mani finds himself in a dilemma. He also stands to lose the one person whom he loves the most in his life, Ammu (Sreelekshmi Sreekumar).
'Karanar' is a yawn of a film that looks like having appeared a bit delayed on the screen. It tells a story that belongs to another age altogether, and there is not a single instance in it that you have not watched as a child!
It's obvious right at the beginning that the Karanavar is an epitome of cultural values, when he sternly admonishes a young couple who had decided to live together, without getting married. Having seen 'good sense' at the Karanavar's advice, they even return at a later point of time with a child in tow, to express their gratitude. The Karanavar merely acknowledges them with a smile. Phew!
Thus it is that Karanavar turns out to be the heart and blood of all those around him, and though his grandmother insists that he looks every bit of the patriarch that his dad was, we find it hard to believe her. For one, it doesn't look too good for a child who is barely ten to sink into a terribly over sized arm chair, with a facial expression that looks contrived.
There are the double entendres that arrive along with a new lady agricultural officer whom the Karanavar meets up with to get his manure and seeds. With plenty of outlandish suggestions that the boyish looks of the Karanavar might be deceptive, the lady gets all excited at the chances of building an amity with the Karanavar!
The self sacrifice is what makes the Karanavar live up to his name, and the climax when his aides proclaim it loud and clear, it becomes apparent that the man hides a heart of gold behind those starched stiff clothes. Karanavar will hopefully continue to lend his selfless services to those around, unmindful of the outcome of his deeds.
Divyadarshan does try his best to put on the garb of the Karanavar with effortlessness, but does find himself ill-at-ease especially on occasions that require him to go through an emotional upheaval. Sreelekshmi is a natural performer without doubt, and is one actor whom we should be hearing of a lot more in the future. Mukesh in a supporting role makes his presence felt, while there is an additional supporting cast with names as Kalabhavan Shajon, Sunil Sukhada, Chembil Asokan, Indrans and Kalpana, just to name a few.
All said and done, 'Karanavar' will never come even close to its uncountable predecessors. Banal to the core, it's a pedestrian attempt to recelebrate a once adored marvel in Malayalam cinema.