Ahammed Khabeer’s new film Madhuram isn’t doing anything spectacularly fresh in terms of the content. A few minutes into the film, one can realize the sense of positivity it wants to impart on its viewers and also what all could be the back story of each character. But after a point, the film manages to create a solid connection with you emotionally. And Ahammed Khabeer gets a fantastic cast who just communicates the emotion brilliantly on screen.
The primary focus of the movie is on the life of Sabu. Sabu is married to Chitra, a Gujarati girl who was raised in Kochi. The story is set in the backdrop of a Government hospital in Kochi, and Sabu is there to treat Chitra. As he was a frequent visitor due to Chitra’s disc issue, he has made many friends in the hospital. What we see in the movie is the life story of Sabu and some of the other people he meets there.
As I said in the beginning, the template here is familiar. Sabu is that extremely optimistic, selfless guy who is there for everyone. He has a solution or suggestion for everyone who is going through a difficult phase in life. And one could sense that there is something shocking about Sabu that will get revealed at one point. And Ahammed Khabeer and his writers Fahim Safar and Ashiq Aimar know that the content should make the viewer emotional rather than surprising them. On a writing level, the dialogues are a bit cheesy. But when talented artists like Indrans and Joju George say those lines with the correct pause, it feels a bit personal, and you feel for those characters.
The kind of humor and the visual lushness we saw in Khabeer’s first film June is also visible here. He sort of prefers to set a bright mood. Even the tragic bits in the movie are not practically shown. While June was fun and light, Madhuram is fun and hefty, in my opinion. The smooth transition of the film to the emotionally heavy side and how it didn’t overdo the melodrama make Madhuram enjoyable. The film is only 2 hours long, and it uses that 2 hours to establish all its characters. Jithin Stanislaus uses that mostly brightly lighted frames for Madhuram. But I loved the way he lit some of the static frame shots. The music and the background score have a major role in maintaining the feel throughout.
Joju George is terrific as Sabu. In the vulnerable moments of Sabu, we can see Joju George delivering a performance without any sort of melodramatic gimmicks. The scene where Raviyettan shares his emotional insecurity with Sabu was my favorite moment in the film. Joju George and Indrans were brilliant in that scene. Shruti Ramachandran, as Chitra, shares excellent chemistry with Joju George. That chemistry helps the film achieve the emotional high in those last portions. Like I mentioned in my Ajagajantharam review, Arjun Ashokan’s eye for choosing characters that show his wide variety to people needs to be appreciated. Kevin is a confused character, and Arjun performed the multiple moods of that character convincingly. Jaffer Idukki was a joy to watch. Nikhila Vimal is not playing a challenging character here, but she was a perfect choice for that part.
Madhuram is not a path-breaking film in terms of the way it gets narrated. But the chances of you watching this film multiple times just to fix your mood are very high. I am not a Jis Joy fan, as I usually feel his movies are unrealistically optimistic and desperate to look positive. If you have also felt something similar, I think Madhuram might well be the kind of feel-good drama you prefer to see. Madhuram talks about being optimistic without trying to be a 2-hour long motivational speech.
Madhuram talks about being optimistic without trying to be a 2-hour long motivational speech.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended