Mohanlal and director Priyadarshan are soul buddies and have come together again in their 29th film with Kilichundan Mambazham. Priyan had a mission to save his friend from overexposure and audience apathy to his larger-than-life roles he had done in recent films. So Kilichundan Mambazham is a sort of comeback vehicle for the superstar and undoubtedly the film makes ideal holiday viewing for the entire family.
Priyan, the scriptwriter and director has been able to meet the stratospheric expectations of the audience with a story set in a Muslim milieu of the 60’s. Koonthalikadavu is a remote village on the banks of the river Kallai, somewhere in the Moplah heartland where time stands still. A rich landlord and trader Moidukutty Haji (Sreenivasan) gets married for the third time to Amina (Soundarya), as his two wives (Vindhya and Geetha Vijayan) could not conceive. Haji is crazy and possessive about the beautiful Amina, but she avoids him by saying some or the other reason.
Into this sylvian surrounding come Abdul Khader (Mohanlal) and his close friend Usman (Salim Kumar) for business. Abdu reaches Haji’s house and gets a glimpse of Amina with whom he falls in love. Abdu then becomes a bangle seller; dates seller and wood merchant to meet Amina but Haji and his men beat him up and try to drive him away from the village. Abdu is saved by the local people led by Kalandan Haji (Cochin Haneefa) and he confesses to them that Amina was his childhood sweetheart and while he was away in gulf to make enough money to marry her, her father Madapully Chekkutty Haji (Thilakan) got her married off to the rich Moidukutty Haji. Abdu promises to save her from Haji and the rest of the story how he does that with the help of the villagers.
The first half of the film is racy and entertaining, but the second half is long-winded and tedious. The performance of the handpicked cast is uniformly excellent. The Mohanlal-Sreenivasan team’s one-man-upmanship tussle is the highlight of the film and both have come out with brilliant performances. Soundarya suits the character of Amina to the T. Technically Kilichundan… is one of the best films in recent times. The camera of Ravi Varman has etched the Moplah background, greenery and landscapes beautifully. Art director Sabu Cyril had done his homework well on the period Muslim household as even the utensils seen in the film look authentic. The lyrics of B.R.Prasad and music of Vidyasagar is another highlight of the film, especially the theme song ”Kilichundan Mambazhame…Kilikotha..Mambazhame…” is melodious and it lingers on your lips even after seeing the film.
On the down side the plot is confusing and the climax is cliché ridden. Mohanlal looks bloated and Jagathy Sreekumar’s comedy track looks stale ( a la Nandanam).
Though this “Mambazham” is not so sweet, it is sure to give a feel-good time to the viewers.
Verdict: Sparkling Entertainer