Meppadiyan Movie Review : A suspenseful everyman’s story

Story: Mechanic Jayakrishnan gets into a big land deal, as a good business investment, but ends up faced with life-changing situations in making the deal happen.

Review: So Meppadiyan has given us a new star: Vishnu Mohan. The debut writer-director has managed to give us an immersive experience, with well-written situations and good characters.

The story starts off a bit slow. In fact, you are thinking, ‘is this all there is to the story?’ But it is a sort of a slow burn situation. Jayakrishnan, played by Unni Mukundan, is a skilled mechanic and a loved and responsible young man, who like a typical youth is itching to take a risk and land a windfall. A chance lands at his feet when an acquaintance, who is a drunk layabout, persuades him to get into a land deal that looks like easy and good money. But once they make the commitment to buy the land from an ailing man, who hopes to use the funds for his daughter’s wedding, they find that they are not able to raise the funds to seal the deal and the responsibility to so lands on Jayakrishnan. Is he able to do it and the people – the typical politician, government servant, businessman – who kick a man while he is down forms the rest of the story.

On the face of it, it might seem like something that Malayalam cinema has seen several times before, and this is where the cleverness of the writing comes in. While there is an old-fashioned feel to the story telling, it moves along new paths that are twisted enough to keep us interested and also has us clenching our fists. And there is none of the over-manipulation of situations, like in the 2009 Mohanlal land deal-film Evidam Swargamanu, though the several light, funny moments in this are what is missing in Meppadiyan. This is a fairly straightforward, simple story with problems that any person could be faced with. In fact, the situations feels so identifiable that we almost want to reach out and slap some people or offer a reassuring hand sometimes to Jayakrishnan.

The writer-director manages to really drive the tension to a peak with simply showing how our courts and particularly, government servants can make us sweat blood out of pure pettiness and arrogance. And he also holds the tension till the very end, though towards the end, there is a slight lag, and we wish for things to just move faster.

Unni Mukundan is so wow that he is not Unni Mukundan, but Jayakrishnan. He very ably takes on the mantle of a small-town youth. And he is the producer, but the last footage in Sabarimala with the end title credits, don’t really gel with the movie.

Saiju Kurup, as the guy who brings the land deal, is excellent. This is an actor who is mastering the art of balancing subtle nuance with an animated body language according to the situation. Aju Varghese, as the politician, is perfect in that we don’t quite know if he is friend or foe. Indrans, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Johny and all the other in the smaller roles are excellent, and really add to the story. As does Anju Kurian, who as Jayakrishnan’s love interest, offers good relief. The BGM by Rahul Subrahmanian feels a bit too loud at times. Neil D’Cuncha’s cinematography and Shameer Muhammed’s editing add to the rural feel and the drama of the story.

This movie offers not just a glimpse at society, but also good character studies. It is a good film for the family to enjoy and discuss together.