Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol Review: Falling in Love…All Over Again
Ulahanan (Mohanlal) and his wife Annyamma aka Aamy (Meena) are having a lovely conversation at home, they are in the throngs of romantic passion once again. Ulahanan goes on to confess about the moment where he momentarily had a lapse of concentration, falling for a lady called Julie (Neha Saxena), the outcome being disastrous as well as downright funny. Aamy startles Ulahanan by revealing that she knew that something was cooking, going to show that she is a smart wife who trusts her husband. In turn she goes on to tell Ulahanan about the men who have been troubling her, shocking Ulahanan no doubt. But the way he reacts in the follow up scene to it is hilarious as well as a treat to watch, without any unwanted emotional outburst or use of heavy dialogues. This is an example to illustrate why Jibu Jacob’s Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol is connecting with the family audience so well.
With the success of his debut film as filmmaker, Vellimoonga (2014) his next film was obviously going to be eagerly awaited. Vellimoonga had gone on to firmly establish Biju Menon’s position as a leading man in Malayalam cinema, with his impeccable knack for comedy in particular. As soon as Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, his next venture was announced, it became a film that generated a lot of attention. Not a surprise at all considering that Jibu had just delivered a hit and also because he had managed to bring in the popular combination of Mohanlal and Meena together with this film. With the mega success of Priyadarshan’s Oppam and Vysakh’s Pulimurugan, Mohanlal has been scorching the screens of late. And when you were wondering if these 2 films would make the talented actor to embrace larger than life roles, it was refreshing to see the promos of Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol which promised to be a simple slice of life film.
Based on V.J.James’ short story Pranayopanishath, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol revolves around Ulahanan, who lives with his wife Annyamma, daughter Jini (Aima Rosmy Sebastian) and son Jerry (Sanoop Santosh). The spark in the married life of Ulahanan and Annyamma seems to be missing; they now seem to be leading a life that’s fallen into a predictable pattern. Ulahanan is a Panchayat Secretary who leads a mechanical life, his daily routine consisting of going to work and returning back at fixed timings, having a few drinks in the evenings with his neighbours and then signing off for the day. On the other hand Annyamma is a housewife who keeps herself busy looking after the children, talking to the neighbours and seeking refuge in soaps on T.V. Things however change when Ulahanan gets to meet his old sweetheart Indulekha (Asha Sarath) during a college alumni reunion, the meeting giving way to Ulahanan’s re-awakening of his romantic side, realizing the need to reignite the spark back in his life. How does Ulahanan go on to manage the same and what happens to the rest of the family in the process is what we see from the rest of the film.
With a basic concept that’s extremely wafer thin, it is quite commendable of writer M.Sindhuraj and director Jibu Jacob to have converted it into a 154 minute full-fledged feature film and to have kept it engaging all the way. The film basically works thanks to a string of fantastic moments in the screenplay by M.Sindhuraj, while Jibu Jacob has gone on to execute them wonderfully. For example there’s the scene when Ulahanan and his friends are drinking on the terrace and Ulahanan being upset, insists that Venukuttan (Anoop Menon) should make him speak with one of his numerous girlfriends over phone right then. Though initially unwilling, Venukuttan does go on to dial someone on his mobile phone eventually and gives the phone to Ulahanan without revealing the name of the lady. Ulahanan goes on to speak to the person over the phone, only to realize that he has been tricked by Venukuttan, as the person on the other end is none other than his wife, Annyamma (Meena). There are enough and more such moments in the film which leave you smiling all the way.
Somewhere along the way the film does slightly remind you of one of last year’s successful films, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam even as Ulahanan and Aamy rediscover love and set out to make their lives colourful all over again. In fact you even wonder if the film perhaps might just go the Drishyam way, but thankfully it never ends up taking that route. Even the comparison with Anuraga Karikkin Vellam isn’t something that should bother anyone; Munthrivallikal Thalirkkumbol does have its own identity clearly. Good job by the editor Sooraj E.S who ensures that the pacing of the film is not a problem, in fact there’s hardly any dull moment in the film. The songs by Bijibal and M.Jayachandran are pretty decent, fitting in well with the narrative. The film has a wonderful star cast, the supporting cast contributing equally to making the film work to a large extent.
Suraj Venjaramoodu, Sharafudheen , Sohan Seenulal, Alancier Ley Lopez , Kalabhavan Shajon, Srinda Ashab, Bindu Panicker are all effective in the characters that they get to portray while Asha Sarath is impactful in a cameo. Anoop Menon is wonderful as Venukuttan, a character which seems him display his proficiency with comedy. Sanoop Santosh and Aima Rosmy Sebastian as Jerry and Jini, the children of Ulahanan and Aamy are lovely and compliment Meena and Mohanlal. Meena is charming and does well to transition from a bored housewife Annyamma to the very much in love and cheerful Aamy. Her scenes with Mohanlal are lively and quite a treat to watch. Saying that Mohanlal sinks into the role of Ulahanan would be an understatement, he is a natural when it comes to playing the slice of life character; this is something that we would like him to do more often.
Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol may not be a spectacular follow up act to Vellimoonga from Jibu Jacob, but it’s a film that offers wholesome entertainment for the family. Ultimately that makes a lot of difference and perhaps that is why the film would find easy acceptance as well.