‘Mandakini’ movie review: Althaf Salim, Anarkali Marikar’s wedding drama entertains in parts only

Filmmaker Unni Leela’s ‘Mandakini’ is about a funny post-marriage fiasco, but the the humour falls flat in several scenes

Updated - May 24, 2024 05:48 pm IST

Published - May 24, 2024 05:18 pm IST

Althaf Salim and Anarkali Marikar in the promotion poster of 'Mandakini'

Althaf Salim and Anarkali Marikar in the promotion poster of 'Mandakini' | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Mandakini, starring Althaf Salim and Anarkali Marikar, revolves around the events that happen soon after a wedding. Directed by Unni Leela, the film narrates the story of Aromal (Althaf) who gets married to Ambily (Anarkali). On the wedding night, Ambily inadvertently drinks a heady cocktail that was meant for Aromal by mistake. A drunk Ambily blurts out details about her former beau Sujith Vasu (Ganapathy) and that she is adamant on meeting him again. Rajalakshmy (Saritha Kukku), Aromal’s mother, decides to take her to meet Sujith and what follows next is the narrative.

There is so much of boozing in the script that you watch 90 per cent of the film with the disclaimer, ‘Smoking and alcohol consumption is injurious to health’. Wedding festivities are all about drunken revelry, and Mandakini has enough and more of it. But it does gets tiresome to watch these scenes after a point; apparently, the title of the film is also the name of an alcohol brand!

Althaf, playing the protagonist for the first time, fits the bill as the simpleton Aromal. His trademark deadpan expressions and dialogue delivery in his previous films have won him a huge fan following. However, Aromal appears to be an extension of those roles and, therefore, the humour falls flat in several scenes.

Althaf Salim and Anarkali Marikar in the promotion poster of 'Mandakini'

Althaf Salim and Anarkali Marikar in the promotion poster of 'Mandakini' | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

However, for a change, women have their say in the narrative. While Anarkali does justice to Ambily, Saritha Kukku makes an impression as Rajalakshmy, the no-nonsense, strong-willed single mother who runs a driving school. Although she struggles to portray certain emotions, the scenes where she stands by Ambily and comes face-to-face with Sujith makes for enjoyable viewing.

Mandakini (Malayalam)
Director: Unni Leela
Cast: Althaf Salim, Anarkali Marikar, Saritha Kukku, Vineeth Thattil, Ganapathy, Aswathy Sreekanth
Run-time: 127 minutes
Storyline: Aromal, a simpleton, gets married to Ambily. But a fiasco that occurs on the same night throws their life out of gear

Among the actors, Vineeth Thattil as Unni, Aromal’s brother-in-law, provides comic relief with his one-liners in the Thrissur dialect and Ganapathy breezes through his role as Sujith. Besides Althaf, filmmakers Lal Jose, Jeo Baby, Jude Anthany Joseph and Ajai Vasudev put in brief appearances in the film, whereas the songs by Bibin Ashok sound fresh and have blended in well with the narrative.

Overall, in spite of having several situations to create humour with proficient performers and dialogues, Mandakini fails to cash in on them.

Mandakini is currently running in theatres

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