M. Mohanan's Katha Parayumbol was an unexpected and runaway hit. We had gone for the movie not knowing what to expect and came out pleased. This time we went to watch Manikyakkallu with great expectations and came out with the feeling that something was missing...
The story is simple: a moribund government higher secondary school in a remote village is revived by the arrival of an energetic and upright young teacher. The premise is good, the situations are believable, but why does it feel too much like a documentary? Or is the final "all A+" SSLC result that is difficult to swallow? Or is it the early breaking of suspense regarding the maash's mission just so that he can have a dalliance (and a wonderful song) with his childhood sweetheart? There are some tear-jerking scenes - but there's absolutely no subtlety about the way they are introduced.
The actors have done a good job, Samvrutha gets a slightly better role than even Prithvi with her portrayal of a girl who doesn't mind some jibes about being over-smart and miserly in trying to build up a life on one's own. Salim Kumar, Nedumudi, Jagathy, KPAC Lalitha - all perform their roles with the ease of veterans. Was that the songwriter Anil Panachooran in a cameo as the "sthiram kutti" in Indrans's teashop?
Message-wise, the movie is good - craftwise, it fails miserably. But it was a freshening experience altogether after having had to watch the likes of "Christian Brothers"!