‘Madhura Manohara Moham’ movie review: Begins with lofty promises, ends up as forgettable fare

In the end, ‘Madhura Manohara Moham’ looks like a film where the writers started working around a few progressive bullet points, because these are in vogue, but soon developed cold feet and veered off into a harmless direction

June 17, 2023 11:55 am | Updated 02:24 pm IST

A still from ‘Madhura Manohara Moham’

A still from ‘Madhura Manohara Moham’

How is one supposed to react when one catches a bus to Thrissur and ends up in Timbuktu? It is the kind of feeling one would end up with after watching Stephy Zaviour’s directorial debut Madhura Manohara Moham, which promises one thing in the trailer and its initial scenes, and ends up delivering the opposite.

Much of the film is set around the family headed by Usha (Bindu Panicker), with her daughter Meera (Rajisha Vijayan) being the most responsible of the lot, while her son Manu (Sharafudheen), a government employee, is an active worker of an upper caste organisation and is in love with its president’s daughter Shalabha (Aarsha Baiju). The youngest daughter appears to be the most progressive among them.

Madhura Manohara Moham (Malayalam)
Director: Stephy Zaviour
Cast: Rajisha Vijayan, Sharafudheen, Aarsha Baiju, Bindu Panicker, Vijayaraghavan
Run-time: 123 minutes
Storyline: Manu, an active worker of an upper caste organisation, is in love with the daughter of the organisation’s president. But, he has to arrange his sister Meera’s marriage before his own marriage could happen. He is in for some surprises when he begins planning for her marriage

When one gets into this milieu of upper caste families, swimming in upper caste pride, and the film looks mockingly at them, it gives out the vibes of a different kind of film. But, even in these supposedly funny moments, where much of the humour does not work, the rather clunky treatment sticks out. Hardly a scene passes without the background music meant to cue the appropriate emotion to us. It is so consistent that one would end up wishing for a device to cancel the background score in at least half of the scenes.

Some of the attempted satire of casteist practices, especially of Usha using a separate steel tumbler to serve tea to the fish vendor, only ends up showing such abhorrent practices in a light-hearted manner, at times even normalising it. Even a clueless attempt at humour around the imaginary concept of ‘love jihad’ also has the same effect. Despite these failings, the script, by Mahesh Gopal and Jai Vishnu, initially looked set to poke some serious jibes at ingrained casteism and even appeared to be moving towards a narrative transgressing all such boundaries.

And, then it springs a surprise and takes off on quite a different tangent, which was fine, but it only further ends up taking the film into messier territory. This tangent also becomes an excuse for a denouement where all caste and religious purity are preserved in marriage, while laying to waste on the wayside possibilities for inter-religious, inter-caste marriages. One really is not sure what the writers intended to convey through that whole shift written around the character of Meera.

In the end, it looks like a film where the writers started working around a few progressive bullet points, because these are in vogue, but soon developed cold feet and veered off into a harmless direction. The recent movie Thrishanku is a stark contrast to this, in how subtly it handled similar themes and managed to create some organic humour too. Madhura Manohara Moham fails on both fronts, and ends up as forgettable fare.

Madhura Manohara Moham is currently in theatres

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.