Annorikkal Malayalam Movie

Feature Film | 2005
Feb 18, 2005 By Paresh C. Palicha

Yet another director makes his debut in Malayalam cinema. Sarathchandran Wayanad (who has been an assistant to Lal Jose) has come out with "Annorikkal", which boasts of Kavya Madhavan in dusky makeup and leaves you with mixed feelings.

The director, surely, has a grip on cinematic techniques, but he is low on content as far as the story department is concerned.

The story is about Ponnu (Kavya Madhavan), a typical self-made village girl who has survived odds after her father's murder when she was just a kid. A vivacious girl with a mind of her own, she does everything under the sun -- from rearing goats, milking cows to gathering firewood and cow dung in order to repay her father's debts. An interesting character, but the director seems to be out of ideas to develop a credible plot around her.

So he fills the surroundings with stereotypes: villainous Tamil moneylender Pandi (Kalabhavan Mani), a deceptive father figure and film-crazy lover-boy Benny (Sunil Kumar).

Pandi has an eye on Ponnu. He employs the age-old tactic of moneylenders and a debt trap to get her. He is assisted in this by Vijayaraghavan (Ponnu's father's buddy). Benny comes to her rescue and kills Pandi's brother after a languorous fist fight just before the interval.

After that, everything goes haywire. The focus seems to shift to the jail, where lover-boy is undergoing rigorous imprisonment for six years on charges of murder. We are shown the atrocities suffered by him at the hands of jail warden and his cellmates who are hardcore criminals, and how he fights injustices in elaborate detail.

In the histrionics department, Kavya tries to do her best and succeeds in doing so to a great extent, but we wish her character were more rounded and rooted. The inspiration must have come from the couple of strong rural characters portrayed by Manju Warrier in the last decade. The much-hyped makeup is inconsistent and disappointing.

Sunil Kumar impresses with a sincere performance as Benny. It proves that his showing in the recently released "Achuvinte Amma" was not a flash in the pan. He is here to stay.

Of the supporting cast, National Award winner Murali is wasted as Benny's father. Others, including Kalabhavan Mani, Mala Arvindan and Vijayaraghavan, seem to perform without any involvement.

"Annorikkal" is worth watching once. But don't walk into the theatre with the hope that the film will deliver on the promise of its pre-release promotion.

Paresh C. Palicha