Madambi Malayalam Movie Review

Feature Film
Almost everything in Madambi is reminiscent of something or someone you have seen before. What's upsetting about it, more than its ordinariness is its staunch adherence to a cinematic tradition that's fast losing out on its very rationale.
Jul 5, 2008 By Veeyen

Madambi is a celluloid saga that falls squarely into the replication category. Rehashing is the keyword in it, and as every moment, event and character is redone and fixed up in fresh slots, credibility takes the back seat to sentimentality.


Ever since his irresponsible father vanished without a trace one fine day, Gopalakrishna Pillai (Mohanlal) has taken upon himself the arduous task of supporting a family - his mother (KPAC Lalitha) and younger brother Ramakrishna Pillai (Ajmal Ameer). Having had to fiercely grapple with fate in his teens, Pillai grows up a strict and stringent money lender with a stone instead of a heart. With arch rival Parameswara Kurup (Sriraman) and his sons (Siddique, Vijaya Kumar and Kiran Raj) trying fresh tricks off their armory, and with the arrival of a new generation bank at Elavattom, with a shrewd and extremely tactful Manager, Jayalekshmi (Kavya Madhavan) at its helm, Pillai gets all geared up to retain his standing that's at stake.


The feudalism in Madambi is most often relegated to its chief character names. Of course the feudal stamps are all over the place, be it the fabulous ancestral mansion, the abundant coconut heaps on the front yard, the forever subservient servant crowd, and last but certainly not the least, the majestic tusker that's caught on frame every now and then. In spirit though, the film could be drawn down to a fundamental emotional conflict between two brothers. It's here that it moves far away from its tagline and occupies a conservative slot.


Despite a reasonably entertaining start, if Madambi willfully decides not to tread fresh territories, it's (no) thanks to its writer - director B. Unnikrishnan. Madambi is built on an anaemic script that exploits emotions in a frantic attempt to make you oversee a mundane plot. In no mood to delve into fresh prospects, he sets Gopalakrishna Pillai scampering after the heroes in Valsalyam, Balettan or even the more recent Vesham. In this flurry, the accomplices too, are all left in tact, be it the self-centered younger brother or his sympathetic wife.


There are just a few odd occasions when the story deviates from the conventional, and then you dearly wish it hadn't. For, then it turns into an inconceivably dim-witted state of affairs that lacks sensitivity. Back in the time-honored mould, its smooth sailing once again, albeit a yawn inducing one. There are only delusions of grandeur in this otherwise cut-and-dried film that's totally harmless. As much as it is inoffensive, it's mediocre, typical and quite common place.


Mohanlal does a fair job yet again; except for the slang that keeps slipping down south, every now and then. He has obviously given Madambi his best shot, which should be quite strenuous for there are quite a few ever sacrificing elder brothers on screen history that he has to trample on. Stretching himself to Balettan and beyond, could be an uphill task for its monotony, if not for its severity. Kavya in one of her most undemanding roles till date, looks pretty and pleased as punch, but sounds odd for her age, and maintains a strange standoffishness throughout. There's nothing much for her to do here, and there's nobody in the whole world who has grasped it better than her. Ajmal Ameer makes a perfect match opposite Mallika Kapoor, in that the couple simply can't act, and caught against the veterans on screen, look like a pair of passers by gaping open mouthed at a film shoot.


Madambi is well caught on film, and Vijay Ulakanathan's camera does a fine job. Madambi is hence techincally polished, though it's slipshod story base comes into view very often. There are a few real hummable songs as well, set to tune by M. Jayachandran.


Almost everything in Madambi is reminiscent of something or someone you have seen before. What's upsetting about it, more than its ordinariness is its staunch adherence to a cinematic tradition that's fast losing out on its very rationale.

Veeyen

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