“8 inte oru lunaar” – says Mahesh at the end of Maheshinte Prathikaram as the shopkeeper asks “sherikkum?”. Bijibal’s rousing background score compliments the scene as Mahesh, the shopkeer and the viewers all had a smile on their faces. Mahesh had won his duel with Jimson. He had got his revenge. He had won his pride back in front of his villagers. We haven’t perhaps rooted for another hero in recent times like we did for Mahesh to do all these and start wearing back his slipper. This immensely beautiful story of Mahesh completes one year today.
I don’t recall another Malayalam movie in recent memory where its all aspects ranging from performances to screenplay to direction to cinematography to music to editing to locations are almost equally good that it is difficult to say which really stands out than others. Still Maheshinte Prathikaram’s heart lies at its wonderful screenplay penned by Syam Pushkaran. It was refreshingly original, had plenty of moments that brought smile on your face and brought surprises at regular intervals keeping you thoroughly enjoyed.
It needs skill to weave a wonderful screenplay around such a simple story without a single moment of boredom and Syam possessed it. What particularly impressed me was the chain of connected events he wrote starting from a fight that member Thahir had at a funeral which leads finally to Mahesh’s vow that he won’t wear his slippers until he has his revenge.
The manner in which the first half ended, we all perhaps expected a darker and a more serious second half. But then the makers had further surprises in store for us. Dileesh Pothan had cleverly hidden Aparna Murali in the first half showing us glimpses of her in few frames. Even when she walked to her home and asked her mom something to eat, we never imagined that the second half would entirely revolve around her. Maheshinte Prathikaram is a lesson in film making in how if you place new characters and incidents perfectly in the second half of a movie, you could continue to sustain the interest of the viewers.
Maheshinte Prathikaram talked about how Mahesh first failed in love but then found it again. It talked about the vow he took and the revenge he finally got. What’s further pleasing is how it even also talked about his profession ! The movie’s most beautiful sequence is the transformation of Mahesh from someone who called his studio “shop” or took snaps by only saying “chin up chin down” to someone who finds the beauty in realizing the exact moment to take his picture. The scene where Soubin drops down “apooppan thaadikal” and Fahadh captures Aparna’s expressions with Bijibal’s beautiful score in the backdrop would go down as one of our finest movie moments ever.
Each and every actor excelled in their roles no matter how little time they have in the movie. Alencier Lay has a great flair for comedy. Soubin’s each gesture or dialogue once again made us laugh. Aparna Balamurali was a great find. Her “Chettanu ithine patti valya dhaarana onnum illlalle” is going to be used in our conversations for lot more years. K.L Antony Kochi (Mahesh’s father ) played the part with great dignity. Even the actor who appears for few minutes to learn Karate to protect his sister left a mark. Finally there was the icing on this cake- Fahad Faazil.
Fahadh Faasil reminded us of Mohanlal from 80s and 90s in his portrayal of a common man in a light hearted movie . He conveyed his pain and humiliation perfectly when refused to wear his chappal. His expression when he heard Jimson left for Dubai made us laugh despite how angry he was. The sparkle in his eyes when he took the snap of a kid summed up how he started to see photography in new light. Finally his smile when he asked for a new pair of slippers won our hearts. For the entire duration of this movie, Fahadh just “becomes” Mahesh that it is impossible to imagine another actor in his place. Enough of this teasing Fahadh by not giving us another movie for one long year now!
Maheshinte Prathikaram would be clearly one movie from this era that would be revisited most in years to come. It is the kind of movie for which you have this word out there -“Beautiful” !
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