Cast- Mythili, Mammootty, Gauri Munjal etc.
Music- Sharath, Bijibal
Lyrics- Rafeeqe Ahamed, T.P.Rajeevan
Background music- Bijibal
Cinematography- Manoj Pillai
Screenplay, dialogues- Ranjith
Review by – Unni / www.Kerala9.com
Ranjith’s ‘Palery Manikyam, Oru Pathirakolapaathakathinte Katha’ delivers what was expected out of it. Scripted well and narrated in an excellent manner, the film begins in the 1950’s, then brings us to the present and then shuttles between the past and the present and in between narrating an interesting story, makes references to many things of social and political significance. A film that stands out in quality, ‘Palery Manikyam…’ is in fact multilayered and works on different planes. But whether the film will work out at the box office is uncertain.
The story begins in the 1950’s in Palery, when a young girl Manikyam (Mythili) is found dead in the most mysterious of manners one night. The very same night, a young guy is found dead by the river in the village. And the very same night, a child is born in the village.
Cut, to the present. The child that was born on that day is now a grown up man, Haridas (Mammootty). Haridas, an investigator based in Delhi, sets out to unravel the mysteries surrounding the death of Manikyam, the 20-year old girl who died, or perhaps was killed, the very same night he was born. He is accompanied by Sarayu (Gauri Munjal), a crime analyst, with whom Haridas, who is married and has a family of his own, has an affair. Haridas, when he makes his exploration into the happenings that happened over half a century back, seems to be seeing it all as happening in front of his eyes. (The film merges the past and present in a single frame in a brilliant manner). Things move on, from one character to another and it all takes a twist with the introduction of Ahmed Haji (Mammootty), a rich landlord who lived in the 1950’s. The revelation that Haridas makes about Ahmed Haji sort of startles and shocks Sarayu. And from here the story takes off, to end in a totally unpredictable and impressive manner.
It’s the over-all structure and the narration that makes ‘Palery Manikyam…’ stand out among the films that come out these days. The strain that Ranjith, his team and the producers Maha Subair and A.V.Anoop have taken to make this film a reality has to be appreciated. But since the film doesn’t have much of the usual box office kind of ingredients, it may not work out with Mammootty fans or the lovers of commercial movie. But still, it’s definitely one of those films which could effect a change in the sensibilities of the average Malayalee film viewers. Hats off to Ranjith and crew.
Though it is Mythili who does the central character, that of Palery Manikyam, it’s Mammootty who steals the show, especially as Ahmed Haji, a character portrayed in shades of grey. Mammootty is his very usual self as Haridas while he portrays the character of Ahmed Haji with versatility. (The character even reminds you at times of Bhaskara Patelar, the character that Mammootty did in Adoor’s ‘Vidheyan’). The character of Khalid Ahmed comes as a bonus. Mythili, though she doesn’t have much to do, suits her role and does justice to it. Same about Gauri Munjal. Shwetha Menon, who had given a mesmerizing performance in ‘Madhyavenal’, gives a brilliant performance as Cheenu, who is the mother-in-law of Mythili. Sreenivasan is good. The many debutant artists who have done the many key roles too have to be appreciated. No doubt, the acting camp organized by the makers of ‘Palery Manikyam…’ has done much good to these debutant artists.
The film is technical sound, in all ways. The cinematography (by Manoj Pillai), the editing (by Vijai Shankar) and the art-direction (by Murugan Kattakada) have all handled well. The costume designing too has been taken care of in an appreciable manner.
The background score by Bijibal syncs in perfectly well with the mood of the film. The only song, which comes towards the very end of the film, too is good.
It’s the script, penned by Ranjith himself, which works the magic for ‘Palery Manikyam…’. The narration plus the way Ranjith has merged the past and the present gives a different kind of feel to the film. The characterization is also good. The way he makes references to social and political realities too deserves special mention.
Ranjith is very much in control of the proceedings and has done an excellent work as the director, eliciting excellent performances out of the artists.
Overall verdict- excellent movie,brilliant narrative