Moothon may have a title that is focused on a single person, but the film is actually about those who are sort of living a dual life under different circumstances. If you try to analyze it meticulously, you might feel that some of the events in the second half could have got trimmed a bit. But if you are willing to invest in those delicate human vulnerabilities this movie tries to convey, then there is a good chance of Moothon being an affecting portrayal of human emotions to you.
We have a child from Lakshadweep named Mulla as one of the main protagonists. After getting bullied by kids of the same age, Mulla decides to go to Mumbai to find his elder brother (Moothon). The reality of Mumbai was even bitter. Mulla’s life in Mumbai and the reality of his Moothon (the elder one) is the story of this Geethu Mohandas film.
SPOILER ALERT! The interval of the movie has Nivin Pauly’s Akbar realizing how his decision to hide one major truth about himself eventually ended up in him himself trashing his own blood. Human sexuality is a subject that has rarely got discussed in Malayalam cinema. It was interesting to see how the feminine elements in the attire of Akbar were creatively tweaked to make him a macho man-like figure. After focusing on the gangster world of Mumbai with sex workers and human trafficking dealers to set the mood, the movie takes a sharp turn to the calmer and vulnerable side of its characters in the second half flashback that happens in Lakshadweep. And the most affecting phase of Moothon is Akbar’s past that captures the emotional aspect of a taboo relationship in the most real, subtle and aesthetic manner.
Akbar aka Bhai is easily the best work of Nivin Pauly. His transformation from being the hopeful and optimistic Akbar to an emotionally tough Bhai is truly appreciable. I really loved that mirror scene in the flashback portion and it was a scene that could have gone wrong easily. Sanjana Dipu as Mulla has that heartening innocence on her face which plays a very crucial role in that very last frame. Roshan Mathew has done a great job of expressing the emotions of the character without uttering a single word. The chemistry between him and Nivin in those sequences was quite organic giving the bonding between them that much-needed grace. Shobita Dhulipala is convincing as Rosy and Shashank Arora has also delivered a raw performance. Dileesh Pothan was pretty good in handling the Lakshadweep slang after the recent outing in Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal. Melissa Raju Thomas is there as Amina, and even though his screen time is less, Sujith Shankar was really good.
In a scene where Mulla asks Bhai to help him find his brother, there is a statement from Bhai about a person who he met long back in Mumbai. We tend to play some guessing games when that happens, but eventually, that scene becomes a statement on how much Akbar was forced to hate himself by society. Geethu Mohandas is focusing entirely on that deep and vulnerable space of each character. Be it the Akbar, Mulla, Latheef (Sujith Shankar) or Ameer (Roshan Mathew), there is lingering pain and frustration in everyone towards the society for not letting them be themselves. If you can understand that soul of this movie, then the movie will work for you despite its unevenness in the depiction of certain gray elements. When it comes to capturing the chaos of a city like Mumbai, I guess there is no one better than Rajeev Ravi. He uses two visual languages to depict the Lakshadweep and Mumbai portions as the locations have a connect with the emotion the movie is trying to project. The cuts also had the same rhythm of the emotional trajectory of the movie.
Moothon is an affecting portrayal of human emotions. I watched the movie with a limited audience and among them also there were people who had total disregard for the emotions of the characters on screen. Calling this movie a niche film will be a regressive statement. Seeing Mulla’s smiling face at the end may not have the same degree of heartening feel one gets to feel seeing Zain’s smile at the end of Capernaum. But Moothon will surely have an emotional impact if you are willing to invest in the journey of those characters.
Moothon will surely have an emotional impact if you are willing to invest in the journey of those characters.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended