Malayankunju Malayalam Movie
Director Sajimon Prabhakar's Malayankunju is a survival thriller in its design but goes beyond a usual genre film. It does so by telling the story of one man's near-death experience involving a form of personal change. Here, Fahadh Faasil plays almost the kind of character he usually does in Malayalam cinema. He is a technician who repairs the electronic devices of people in his hill station community and an apathetic guy who seldom gets along with people. Even when someone whistles from close proximity, it breaks the focus of Fahadh's Anikuttan. So, one can only imagine how he reacts when working around a baby who constantly cries.
The scenes that show Anikuttan going about his day-to-day routine in his workroom, also act as an insight into his character. It is one way of showing that this is a man who isolates himself from others, including even his mother to an extent. Watch how his mother places a cup of tea around his window as he is asleep, without telling him. It is a superb scene showing us how shut-out Anikuttan is from the outside world.
There is a backstory that explains why Anikuttan behaves in such a way. The backstory only strengthens our perception of Anikuttan being a man who can change himself. A seismic event only acts as a plot device that paves the way for a specific outcome. Anikuttan is a bit reserved, and Fahadh plays him in a way that underlines this aspect of the character. Fahadh usually acts in such a way that allows the audience to form a mental image or a profile of the character he plays. It applies to his character in Malayankunju as well. The movie works as a showcase of Fahadh's acting skills.
There are other important characters in Malayankunju, including that baby, a father role played by Jaffar Idukki, and Anikuttan's sister played by Rajisha Vijayan. The backstory involving Jaffar Idukki allows the makers to set up a plotline with a strong emotional impact on the audience. The best survival thrillers go beyond a physical struggle with existential undertones and thus work at an emotional level. Working from a script by Mahesh Narayanan, Sajimon Prabhakar creates a film that affects us deeply without excessive sentimentality or melodrama.
What makes the film a lot more enjoyable is the production design. In some places, the presence of artificial lighting shows, but the art design is top-notch for the most part here. The internal part of the earth where Fahadh's character lies during an incredible 30-minute stretch, seems more like Hastar's well from Tumbbad. Only an artificial set can create that kind of environment, but the makers of Malayankunju try to treat this part of the film as realistically as possible. It is just that their attempt is to portray the journey of the character rather than offering us vicarious thrills. AR Rahman's music is mostly more suited for a film with vicarious thrills, but Malayankunju is seldom that kind of movie.