We at Karthi are all for variety when it comes to movie fare: be it action, tame "family" fare, romance, suspense thrillers - we are ready for anything and everything except for some absolute mishmash like "De Ingottu Nokkiye" (our horrible movie "gold" standard of all time). So when we had some friends over this weekend, we chose "Mallu Singh" knowing very well that it was not critically acclaimed.
Keeping in mind that being story-less is the new story, this is what ensues: Ani (Kunchacko Boban) leaves his ancestral village for Patiala, Punjab in search of a long-lost cousin Hari (Unni Mukundan). He does find a Harinder Singh there, but as the integral part of a Sikh family with four beautiful sisters to boot. Ani's mission is then to find the mystery behind Harinder Singh's amnesia which has made him forget even his fiance who happens to be Ani's sister Achu (Samvrutha Sunil).
In keeping with the movie's location which is the lush land of five rivers, the movie is filled with fast songs and dance with the typical Punjabi tang - lot of balle balles going on all the time. In fact, the camera work is so good that I think it's the best shot Punjab movie since DDLJ (remember Simran in the yellow-flowered fields?). Mallu Singh definitely goes one better. I think I could watch the movie again and again just to see the flower-filled fields that are lavishly displayed in several scenes. Comedy-wise the actors have not much to work with, but they have done their best - the kiddos got to laugh a lot. Kunchacko gets the worst comic part, but as usual makes up for it in the dancing department. What does that guy have instead of joints - rubber? Just watching the man dance gave me knee and back ache! Biju Menon, Manoj K. Jayan and Suraj Venjarammoodu make up a solely comic team with Suraj easily coming up the topper - he was the only one who made me laugh out loud in one scene.
Let me save the best for the last: Unni Mukundan. Yes, this is the first movie of his that I have watched and I must say, I am a fan from now on. I think it would be the best proper hero debut that Malayalam cinema world has seen in years. I am not forgetting that Unni has had his debut earlier, but this will be his most notable part and am sure that he will be evaluated on this performance for years to come. I am also not forgetting Prithviraj here - but Prithvi has been around for 10 years now and has evolved much beyond the level of just a "hero". But I am talking about the way that Unni stands out from the general mold of androgynous/ metrosexual / heroes who are the norm right now. In this movie he is in an unabashedly testosterone driven avatar and it was totally refreshing to see believable action without an aging or fragile (ahem, ahem) 'hero' bashing up people twice their size. In fact, the action scenes were so superb that I felt like rushing home and pumping some iron (even if it's a puny pair of dumbbells of 1.5 kg each!) Unni Mukundan, welcome! You look good and solid enough to be a Punjabi boy and did pretty well in the acting department too. We have high hopes of you!
In short: Mallu Singh worth watching for the superb scenery and Unni Mukundan. :-)