If any of you have this feeling that the wacky style Lijo Jose Pellissery used in Amen and the typical emotional angle Rajkumar Hirani uses in his films are very easy filmmaking techniques, then Marconi Mathai from Sanil Kalathil will show you how bizarre such treatments can look if handled badly. Marconi Mathai is like a great example of how one can stretch a wafer-thin concept to unbearable levels. The kind of emotional acting Vijay Sethupathi did in the climax made me wonder whether he was even aware of what the script was.
So, Marconi Mathai, our title character is an ex-military officer. And he is now giving security service to a bank. Mathai is single and his relatives are always pressuring him to get married and he always ran away from those discussions. So the movie Marconi Mathai shows us the series of events that happen in Mathai’s life when he finally falls in love with a girl named Anna who joined the bank as a class 4 employee.
Goodness is not a bad concept and a movie trying to propagate that is also a good thing. But there needs to be some sense of relatable feel to that tale. Marconi Mathai is extremely superficial. The character is so good in terms of conduct certificate that he won’t excite you at all. Up to an extent I had a feeling that there may well be an audience for this movie as it was giving YOLO messages in each frame. But the moment Anna called Vijay Sethupathi, I sort of gained the confidence to call this movie a lame one. Everything that happens after that in this movie most probably won’t be acceptable to anyone who has acknowledged the way Malayalam cinema has evolved recently. I have heard about the functioning of FM stations and the way actors come to promote films, but in this particular universe, the whole system works in a really different way.
Apart from the haircut and that small beard, I couldn’t really feel any difference in Jayaram’s portrayal. His usual shocked expression, sentimental glittery eyes, husky voice modulation, etc are there. Athmiya gets one more character that looks sad at most part of the movie. Vijay Sethupathi, the marketing face of the movie is an extremely unnecessary addition to this film. He plays himself and there is hardly 15 minutes of him in the movie. Looking at how weak the script is in the second half, one can easily sense why they needed the publicity gimmick through Vijay Sethupathi. Tini Tom, Joy Mathew, Sudheer Karamana, Idavela Babu, Mukundan, etc are the other major actors in the long list. Aju Varghese, Sidharth Siva and Ramesh Thilak (who will probably get featured in the posters when the movie gets a Tamil Nadu release) are also there.
Sanil Kalathil has this idea of making everything visually exquisite. You can see flowers everywhere. The bank, the town, the celebrations, etc. are all on the colorful side. But the only problem is that he is wandering without content. Marconi Mathai is a wannabe Charlie-like character who doesn’t have the grace in him to influence you. The lamest segment of the movie is when the movie itself calls the love story of Anna and Mathai as a modern-day rarity. A pan India search for Mathai happens when Vijay Sethupathi requests the listeners of the FM station. And the scenes in the search montage will make you facepalm multiple times. In the movie, Vijay Sethupathi comes to Kerala to promote his new movie and he then becomes the anchor of a show; really? Vijay Sethupathi promotes a Tamil film by hosting an entire radio show with live telephone calls for a week (or more) and that too in Kerala. Who is the genius behind this thought? The cinematography is always trying to be eye candy. The editor was struggling to squeeze in Vijay Sethupathi. I really liked the first stanza of the Thotte song sung by Unni Menon.
A movie that has a star like Jayaram, who has 30 plus years of experience in this industry, promoting itself as the entry movie of Vijay Sethupathi to Malayalam itself shows how insecure they are about the content. The Vijay Sethupathi dependent promotions were so excessive that my dad, who isn’t an ardent follower of movies when he saw the poster of the film on paper, asked me what’s the name of this film? Makkal Selvan or Marconi Mathai?
A movie that has Jayaram, who has 30 plus years of experience in this industry, promoting itself as the entry movie of Vijay Sethupathi itself shows how insecure they are about the content.