“A Malayalam Cinema to watch with family for all those believers of Jesus, Ayyappan, Allah and Human beings.” This was the caption of the poster that got released yesterday for Malikappuram. I will have to admit that the secularism they have brought in that poster somewhere is an admission of the fact that religion is a fading entity in modern society. Malikappuram is a movie that tries to create a fan following for religion among kids, and writer Abhilash Pillai unleashes his inner Udaykrishna to create an undercover Ayyappan mass movie that is strictly for kids.
As the title suggests, the film is about Malikappuram Kallu. From bedtime stories by her grandmother, Kallu greatly admires Lord Ayyappa, and she has been asking her dad to take her to Sabarimala. After several requests, her father, Ajayan, finally agreed to take her to Sabarimala. But certain unfortunate events delayed that journey, and finally, Kallu decided to leave for Sabarimala on her own, along with her best friend, Piyush. The eventful journey of the two kids is what we see in Malikappuram.
The target audience of this movie is kids. The formula of the divine comedy is very predictable, and Abhilash Pillai is trying to make the kid’s movie an Unni Mukundan action story in the second half. Vishnu Sasi Sankar almost makes the film look like a beta Pulimurugan with all those fights set inside the forest. The basic feel of the writing is this movie’s fundamental flaw, which is evidently catering to the audience of daily soaps. Just like how Aamir Khan’s PK uses stickers of Gods to get away from slaps, Abhilash Pillai inserts Ayyappan anecdotes to scare the ones who want to talk about craft.
As anyone with common sense can guess from the trailer, Unni Mukundan plays the Ayyappan equivalent protector in the movie. With that beard and pleasant smile, he is actually a good choice for a Kid’s film hero. Deva Nandha, who plays the movie’s title character, has an infectious smile that makes us empathize with her character, who actually has a very unrealistic sense of hope. Master Sreepath as Piyush was okay. Saiju Kurup sleepwalks through that typical father character. Sampath Ram plays a pointless villain who is there only for that forest fight. Ramesh Pisharody, TG Ravi, Sreejith Ravi, Alphy Panjikaran, etc., are the other major names in the movie.
The movie’s backdrop has obviously generated a curiosity to know whether it has any propaganda attached to it. But the sheer absence of craft and the sloppy writing won’t even make you bother about the movie’s agenda. To find anything exciting in this Vishnu Sasi Sankar movie, you must erase your memories of the good divine fantasies you have seen. To be honest, they are just digging the wetland as the topic is sensitive, and there will be a minimum guarantee of support for something like this. The music is pretty much on the generic side, and to make things forcefully spiritual, we have Harivarasanam playing when the end credits roll.
Malikappuram is a tasteless and hasty attempt to save religion from being irrelevant. Maybe the lack of enthusiasm that was there to “protect” rituals in the recent past has made them realize that religious conditioning has to start from childhood. Hence making Ayyappan look like a protective superhero who smashes bad guys is a smart and subtle move toward that not-so-clean agenda.
Malikappuram is a movie that tries to create a fan following for religion among kids, and writer Abhilash Pillai unleashes his inner Udaykrishna to create an undercover Ayyappan mass movie.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended