Not many of the recent films in Malayalam would touch your heart with its sincerity and captivating innocence, like debutant director Sidharth Siva's ‘101 Chodyangal’
With characters straight out of real life, it is a delight to watch a young school kid indulged in making 101 questions about matters that we come across in everyday life. Though the boy's intention is to get the money promised by his teacher for the exercise, it is a learning experience about life for him, as his family goes through dire straits.
Sivanandan (Murugan) is finding the going tough when he loses his job in a factory, due to his involvement in trade union activities. His political outfit doesn't come to his help and life becomes a big question mark for his family that includes his wife Sathi (Lena), son Anil Kumar 'Bokaro' (Minon) and a mentally challenged younger daughter.
Meanwhile Mukundan (Indrajith), a teacher in his school has a positive influence on 'Bokaro' and he asks the boy to frame the questions for a small time publisher.
The film won two awards at the 60th National film awards, for Sidharth (best first time director) and Minon (best child artiste).
101 Chodyangal has its heart at the right place, though the situations tend to get a bit clichéd at times. The efforts to add more drama and some philosophical touch to the lines are evident in certain scenes. In short, it may not affect you like a ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’ or ‘Taare Zameen Par’ but it will prompt to spare a thought for certain suffering sections in the society.
The performances from the entire cast need to be appreciated, especially the characters played by Murugan, Minon and Indrajith.
‘101 Chodyangal’ may have its shortcomings, but it succeeds in making a definite impression. Though the story is being told through the eyes of a child, this one is for viewers of all ages. Go for this film!