Madhya Venal Malayalam Movie ReviewFeature Film
It's very rarely that a film appears that's as delicately crafted as 'Madhyavenal'. And it's even more rarely that such a film gets acceptance at the box office. It's no wonder therefore that Madhu Kaithapram's 'Madhyavenal' is not being screened by major theatres. That however is a very sad thing to happen, for the simple reason that one of the most beautifully crafted films of the year will fail to reach the masses.
The film may get rave reviews, win critical acclaim, do the festival rounds and even pick up an award or two. But what good will all that do if it can't reach the masses? 'Madhyavenal' is a sensitively made movie that deals with issues close to our lives. It's a movie with a great amount of social commitment. But since there aren't too many takers at the box office, the message gets nowhere.
'Madhyavenal' tells the story of Kumaran (Manoj K. Jayan) and his wife Sarojini (Shwetha Menon), who have dedicated their lives for the upliftment of the working classes. Kumaran had from his early days taken part in many campaigns supporting the cause of workers and peasants. Sarojini had always stood by him and had supported him in all possible ways. She had also contributed her own share, espousing the cause women workers and working hard herself as a weaver. Rameshan (Irshad) is a dedicated follower of Kumaran, who loves and admires him.
As time passes however, things turn sour for Kumaran and Sarojini. The values they had upheld and the causes they had espoused seem to have become irrelevant. It's easy money that people are after. Even their own daughter Manikutty seems to be living in a different world. It's at this juncture that a new generation bank opens a branch in their village. Praveen (Arun), who works for the bank, is the embodiment of capitalist culture, and represents the nature and interests of the bank in all respects.
With the opening of the branch and Praveen's entry into the scene, things take a new turn for the villagers. Though Kumaran and Sarojini are ideologically against the bank and its ways, people around them do not heed their words. Even those who once had stood staunchly behind Kumaran now seem to be caught in the grip of consumerism. It's from here that the story of 'Madhyavenal' develops, moving on to a very well-executed and gripping climax.
Manoj K. Jayan has given an excellent performance as Kumaran, but it's Shwetha Menon who steals the show as Sarojini. Her performance is controlled and nothing short of splendid. The rest of the cast too have performed well. M.J. Radhakrishnan has contributed greatly to the realization of the subject by composing excellent frames with his camera. Of the songs, "Swantham swantham baalyathiloode…" stands out.
Summing up, 'Madhyavenal' is a film that speaks about our times and about issues that concern us. The way the story has been developed and the screenplay has been written, and the way the film as a whole has been crafted is truly outstanding. 'Madhyavenal' definitely is a film that's not to be missed.
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