That is producer-director Lal talking to Deepika about how Malayalees are not putting in hard work in the field of cinema compared to people in other states. This Malayali attitude is what writer-director Sathyan Anthikkad tackles in his latest movie Vinodayatra.
Sathyan’s films follow a template, with a hilarious first half and an emotionally loaded second half. This time is it no different. The subject though is very topical, and the moral is mentioned in one of the reviews – “Anupama once tells Vinod that people should be more concerned about their own lives than bother too much about international issues like the US attacks on Iraq, the tensions in Korea or the long period of Fidel Castro’s rule in Cuba.”
Though the film is a bit slow paced, Vinodayathra is indeed engaging which makes it a watchable movie. On the downside, most of the turnarounds are indeed predictable and that is one price that filmmakers pay when they make feel-good movies for the families.
Sathyan Anthikkad has scripted the film himself and he has done a decent job. On the acting front, it is a cakewalk for Dileep who has done a decent job though we have seen him doing similar roles early in his career. He does succeed in handling the situations in a light way, which is precisely the nature of his character in the film. It may not be her best role, but Meera Jasmine looks fabulous and convincing as usual. The pair does have an on- screen certain chemistry that works well. The supporting cast has done decently what their roles demand, especially Mukesh, but there is not much to do for them other than what they have shown in their earlier films.
S.Kumar has succeeded in making the frames look good and Ilayaraja has come out with some nice tunes too. Sai’s costumes make the actors look good, but we wonder how the characters with limited earnings can they afford such nice outfits? K.Rajagopal’s editing is impressive and Manoj’s art direction is particularly evident during the song sequences, which have been choreographed well by Brinda.
So, when you watch his new film Vinodayathra you are sure about one thing; that it will be vintage Sathyan Anthikkad. And, when you leave the theatre, you are happy about the overall experience.
The director who is also credited with writing the story integrates many topical issues in the story without consciously making them the centre of our attention. The issue of child labour is tackled here as well as the sex racket, but both from a novel angle.
If we have any grouse against this film, it is about the characterisation. For example, the character Anupama played by Meera Jasmine is heavily inspired from Kastooriman, where she played a gutsy lady facing all odds with a smile. Though her performance is flawless, we feel it is repetitive.
As for the ensemble supporting cast consisting of Innocent, Nedumudi Venu, Mamookoya, Murali and KPAC Lalitha, only Murali’s role as a police constable recuperating from a wound suffered during a communal riot seems to have some meat. Innocent is his usual self as the watchman of a dam. His weakness for the drink was seen many times including in a few Sathyan Anthikkad films also. Nedumudi Venu as the retired IG writing his service memoirs is a miscast in the comic role, to put it mildly.
Vinodayathra belongs to Mukesh and Dileep. It is their vibes that hold the film together in the first half. Dileep follows his trademark style and Mukesh is very good as the concerned elder who has to bear the brunt of his brother-in-law’s silly doings. The film is worth watching for the chemistry between these two actors.
Unni Nair writes in IndiaGlitz
The main highlight of the film is that the director is able to convey what he wants to convey in a simple and straight forward manner. Characterization too is a highlight as far as the movie is concerned. There may seem to be some exaggeration in the portrayal of the idealist Shaji Raghavan, but Mukesh who does the role performs rather convincingly, making the exaggeration less obvious.
Cinematography by S. Kumar is first-rate. The songs penned by Vayalar Sharath Chandra Varma and set to tune by Illayaraja have come out really well and have also been shot well. Vinodayaathra like any other Satyan Anthikkad film, stands out as it sensitively presents slices from real life through really down-to-earth characters.