Starring: Fahadh Fazil, Anusree, Alancier, Soubin Shahir
In the opening sequence of Maheshinte Prathikaram , the protagonist rises up from a pond humming the theme song of Mohanlal’s Narasimham , reminding us of the bloody revenge films in the recent past that have attained a cult status. Later in the film, as Mahesh is plotting his ‘revenge,’ his friend humourously reminds him of the plight of Sethumadhavan of Kireedom who went for his revenge.
Mahesh’s (Fahadh Fazil) revenge though is a world away from that of Induchoodan or Sethumadhavan. It is of a gentler kind, though the base human emotion of rage lies beneath all of them. In fact, the chain of events leading to revenge also starts from Mahesh. A photographer at a small village in Idukki, he is offered a banana as he waits to start his work at a household. Following that trigger of a banana is a brilliantly crafted sequence, a kind of butterfly effect, the inconsequential flapping of a butterfly’s wings leading to catastrophic events in another part of the world, at the village junction.
Mahesh is presented as an average man who goes with the flow, much like most others in that village. He ends up as a photographer, not for love of the art, but because his father used to do the same. He follows the same “head down, shoulder down, chin up, eyes open” routine for every photograph, even for a magazine cover shoot.
He has remained deeply in love with his school classmate Soumya (Anusree). But his world turns around following that small incident.
Syam Pushkaran, in writing the revenge story, takes away the usual ingredients of hate and anger, and replaces it with lots of humour, arriving as a torrent in one-liners, in situations and even in the minute gestures of the characters. Director Dileesh Pothan, who also appears in a cameo, displays more than a trace of his mentor Aashiq Abu’s influence in his craft. But he seems to have outdone his mentor with this winner of a debut. For Fahadh, it’s a role that brings out the best in him. Maheshinte Prathikaram provides clean entertainment, treading new paths in that endeavour. If revenge comes like this, let’s have more of it.