One of the most elaborate scenes in [tag]Meesha Madhavan[/tag] is when the local money lender Bhageerathan Pilla ([tag]Jagathi Sreekumar[/tag]) and his daughter Rugmini ([tag]Kavya Madhavan[/tag]) set a trap to catch the Chekku village thief Madhavan ([tag]Dileep[/tag]). Folklore says that if Madhavan twirls his moustache at someone, he will steal from that person’s house. Knowing this they setup a cartoon film based trap consisting of ropes, pulleys, marbles and powder. On that night they not alone. Joining Pillechan is his trusted friend, middle aged man with a neck problem and the Chekku youth wing secretary Thrivikraman ([tag]Cochin Haneefa[/tag]). Joining Madhavan is his friend Sugunan played by Harisri Asokan and the advocate Mukundanunny who is chasing him (played by [tag]Salim Kumar[/tag]). Another person who wanders into this milieu is Lineman Lonappan (Machan Varghese) whom Madhavan had bribed to disconnect the power supply to Pillechan’s house.
What follows for the next 15 minutes is various encounters in various parts of the house. Pillechan’s hot water tub is substituted with a bucket of burning coals. The advocate falls into a cow dug pit and walks like a zombie scaring everyone. Madhavan walks into the trap and is caught in a fishing net. No, that’s still not the entire cast of this movie. Not seen in this scene are constable Achyuthan Namboothiri (Oduvil), who is pally with Madhavan, Prabha ([tag]Jyothirmayi[/tag]) who is Namboorthiri’s daughter, and Eepan Papachi ([tag]Indrajith[/tag]), the new inspector in town.
Though he is a thief, Madhavan is loved by one and all. His father had borrowed money from the money lender Pillechan and so he has to make payments based on Pillechan’s demands. This gets them into fights quite often and they try to one up each other. Madhavan, since he spends his time roaming in the dark, finds that Pillechan has an affair with the wife of a soldier and uses this information to black mail him. This cat and mouse game goes on for a while when Rugmini enters the fray.
So there are more games between Madhavan and Rugmini as she wants to support her father. In such movies, it is imperative that the hero and heroine be childhood friends and that requirement is depicted through flash backs. Soon Pillechan finds an ally in the newly arrived arrogant inspector Eeapen Papachi. One casualty of the game played by Rugmini, Pillechan and Papachi is the marriage of Madhavan’s sister and then Rugmini makes a U turn and falls in love with Madhavan. But then the idol from the temple is stolen and the suspect is Madhavan since he was seen there last night. If Madhavan did not do it, then who did it? (No points for guessing the answer.)
This movie was a big hit in the year it was released for a good reason – it is an excellent entertainer with very lovable characters, funny scenes and a smooth screen play. Like any other [tag]Ranjan Pramod[/tag] script, it just flows from the beginning with one event after another establishing the relationships and introducing the characters, like how we saw again in Naran.
The film does not break new ground in terms of comedy but the way in which these characters interact provides all the entertainment required. There are scenes like Pillechan taking a knife to cut down Madhavan and the whole village joins him in the procession with Thrivikraman calling everyone to come and watch the fun. When Pillechan steps into the barber shop where Madhavan is hiding, he finds that Madhavan is sitting along with the Military husband of the lady with whom Pillechan has an affair. Pillechan pleads with his eyes and Madhavan makes fun of him in front of everyone.
Besides such Tom & Jerry scenes, there is romance, misunderstanding, jealousy, compassion, drama and every possible human emotion, all captured in a realistic way. There is even one beautiful sensual scene when Madhavan enters Pillechan’s house to steal Rugmini’s aranjanam. The movie stands out in terms of performance of all the actors – Dileep, Kavya, Jagathi, Haneefa, Harisri, Oduvil, all perform their parts without over acting. While all these people are all established actors, one person who impressed us was Indrajith as the menacing Papachi. Even Salim Kumar as the advocate who goes around saying, “I may not have the looks, but I am an advocate”, was tolerable.
If you observe the successful comedy movies in Malayalam like Nadodikaatu, Sanmanasullavarku Samadhanam and Ramji Rao Speaking, you will find that they all have an under current of poverty. It this this poverty that drives the protagonists to do all those crazy things which is comical to us and makes them human. In this film too there is an explanation for Madhavan’s necessity to be a thief and such behavior silently rationalized.
[tag]Vidyasagar[/tag] gave some excellent foot tapping numbers for this movie, the most famous being Chingamasam which bought Jyothirmayi to attention. All the songs have excellent choreography by Prasannan. Each frame of the song is captivating, both due to the costumes, the contrast of the costumes with the background and also due to the framing of the beautiful locales and one has to commend the excellent work done by S. Kumar.
This film catapulted the careers of director [tag]Lal Jose[/tag], Dileep, Kavya and Ranjan Pramod. This is an excellent movie and is highly recommended.