Mandakini Review | This Marriage Comedy Will Work if You Are Drunk as a Skunk

During the promotional interviews for his new film, Mandakini, actor-director Althaf Salim talked about how he is comfortable as an actor when there is space to improvise. Most of the acting gigs Althaf has done so far have not been annoying, as his soft-spoken counter dialogues only created laughter in the theaters. But in the case of Mandakini, the lack of a proper plot for the film makes Althaf do the heavy lifting through his improvised counter dialogues, mostly added during dubbing. With a stuck plot that just goes after random events to extend its runtime, Mandakini is a dishonest attempt to make a fun film.

So the movie basically revolves around the wedding of this man named Aaromal. His mother has a driving school, and his wife Ambili used to be a student in that driving school. Before Aaromal’s first night, his brother-in-law and cousin advise him to have some drinks, but unfortunately, his wife Ambili drank all that, thinking it was juice. What all happens in that house that night is what we see in Vinod Leela’s Mandakini.

The cinematographer of the movie, Shiju M Bhasker, is credited as the movie’s writer as well. But when you watch Mandakini, you will seriously have doubts whether they started shooting this film with a completed proper script. Rather than the idea of a drunk bride, there is absolutely nothing here in the story to take it forward. I even thought the writing credit was given to the cinematographer because he contributed the most when they were thinking about what they should shoot. It is that random. 

This is the first film as a hero for Althaf Salim, and it is easily the worst performance from him as he is forced to do his typical humor to cover up for the lack of substance in the film. And the amplifying of the humor by making the character absolutely dumb was making it even worse. From whatever promo material they have released, it seemed like Anarkali Marikar was given this good-looking conventional girl character. But the moment she is drunk, even she is forced to do the character exaggeratedly. Vineeth Thattil plays the role of the brother-in-law in his typical style. Saritha Kukku, as Rajalakshmi, the mother of Aaromal, also follows this loud characterization. Jeo Baby, Jude Anthany Joseph, Lal Jose, Ajay Vasudev, etc., are also part of this movie, and other than Lal Jose, everyone else is playing completely irrelevant characters in this film. Ganapathy is there as Sujith Vasu, and that was easy money for him.

As I already said, the movie’s problem is it just does not know what to do with the central idea. You can practically see that they are just stretching certain moments in the film pointlessly to reach a minimum of two hours of runtime. Whenever the movie gets stuck, Ambili will puke and reveal some details about her ex. The bizarreness of the events in this movie is such that you might think the makers and the characters are all high on something. The songs are a bit peculiar, but sadly, the placement of them wasn’t that great. The forceful humor in the content will make you facepalm repeatedly. 

Because of the pathetic script that goes after random stuff in its desperation to find humor, rather than disliking the film, you will end up hating the film. The character name Sujith Vasu is used repeatedly and annoyingly in this movie, and I won’t be surprised if ace cinematographer Sujith Vassudev files a defamation case against the team. Mandakini is a lazy film that takes the audience for granted.

Final Thoughts

Because of the pathetic script that goes after random stuff in its desperation to find humor, rather than disliking the film, you will end up hating the film.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.