Meppadiyan by Vishnu Mohan is a mix of clichés and interesting plot twists. The story here will remind you of the family dramas prominent in Malayalam cinema almost two decades ago. Vishnu Mohan basically revamps that genre with a central conflict that is relatable to nearly all the middle-class people in society. Thus Meppadiyan becomes this dramatic entertainer that plays it for the gallery.
Jayakrishnan, an automobile mechanic, is our main protagonist. He is this gentleman character who has done nothing wrong in his life. His family loves him, his girlfriend cares about him, and his customers are fond of him. Basically, he is that great boy next door who only knows to help. At one point, his friend Philip comes to him with the idea of buying a plot that could well help them in the future. But the journey to purchasing that piece of land makes Jayakrishnan’s life incredibly difficult and how he tackles the hurdles in front of him is what we see in Meppadiyan.
Of late, it has been a bit difficult for me to enjoy Sathyan Anthikkadu movies mainly because of their repetitive nature. A similar issue is there with Meppadiyan. The beats are highly familiar. You clearly know what will happen in the next moment, and you are just hoping the director will do something to break the usual tone of the film. The movie’s first half is almost a tribute to movies like TP Balagopalan MA. But in the second half, Vishnu Mohan decides to shift the tone to more of a thriller. A man fighting against a flawed system by being smart is an exciting idea. Even though it is kind of over the top on many occasions, the anger almost all of us have in us against the bureaucratic system works in favor of the film.
In terms of presenting the emotional aspects of the character Unni Mukundan definitely shows an improvement. I liked how he shifted from that helpless guy to a man with a plan in the registrar office sequence. The dialogue delivery is still an issue whenever he is doing scenes with too many dialogues. Saiju Kurup was convincing as the irresponsible Philip Varkey. Aju Varghese was fine in that serious negative shade character. Still, I don’t understand the necessity of that first scene featuring him. Anju Kurian is the quintessential pretty heroine. Indrans, Kalabhavan Shajon, Kundara Johny, Nisha Sarang, Manohari Joy, etc., are the other prominent names in the star cast.
As I said, the treatment of the story follows the old-school pattern. At the beginning of the movie, we have a song that tries to establish Jayakrishnan as everyone’s favorite. And the film gradually follows the predictable path of hurdles coming in front of the character one after the other. As I said, the movie wants to play it for the gallery, and Vishnu Mohan creates sequences where our hero jumps across the hurdles in a seemingly impossible way. The frustration through which the character goes through is relatable, and it helps the movie a lot in covering up its basic feel. There is also a subtle layer of communal politics in the film.
Meppadiyan is a watchable drama that goes back to familiar tropes of the so-called “family” movies. The second half of the movie, where we see the hero fight back against the system, certainly gives the movie the escapist joy we expect from a commercial film. With a run time of just over two hours, Unni Mukundan’s first production venture is a passable film.
The frustration through which the character goes through is relatable, and it helps the movie a lot in covering up its basic feel.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended