It's inspiring to watch diverse genres being attempted fruitfully week after week in Malayalam cinema and the genuine feel is that a variety of movies can co-exist blissfully in the current cinematic milieu. This time, it is the recreating of the bygone era- a demanding, painstaking and strenuous challenge in the new movie 'Ozhimuri' based on the novel 'Uravidangal' by bilingual writer B Jayamohan(also famous for hit films like 'Angaditheru'). Besides extensively detailing to lend authenticity, Madhupal, the director also carries the responsibility of making the characters come alive to the present-day generation in his latest 'Ozhimuri'. It emulates an actuality and the makers have tried to keep it as bona fide as possible, and it is this realism, and jumpiness that stay with the spectator even after the curtains fall.
Set in the Southern villages that were once a part of Kerala, but now in Tamil Nadu, the movie follows the reasons for a divorce petition for 'Ozhimuri,' a document of separation asked for by an aged woman, from her aged husband. She is accompanied by her young son, Sharath(Asif Ali) a school teacher who is chased by the young opposite counsel Bala(Bhavana) sincerely scrutinizing the strangeness surrounding the tales. The movie also sheds light on the matriarchal society which once existed in the prominent Nair 'Tharavadu's of the region. In the movie, it's the powerful matriarch Kali Pillai(Shwetha Menon) who single handed manages the affairs of her extended Tharavadu. She has her only son Thanu Pillai(Lal), who hardly likes the system of women ruling over the man and opts to stay away from it by marrying a poor girl Meenakshy(Mallika) from a family which doesn't follow the type of living. Thanu , with his share of bitter experiences about his own parents has but grown into a imposing father and husband who terrorize his family. It is the same Meenakshy and Thanu who finally lands up in the court seeking separation.
The definite highlight of the movie is JayaMohan's screen writing for his own novel which is well furnished with incidences and finer dialogues with plenty of observations that suit the tastes of the present-day spectators and make it more palatable. The film's stance on the women hood (through the staging of three women who enters Thanu's life-his mother, wife and son's daughter), must be applauded for the finesse of comprehensible thinking. Once the film-maker takes on the task of depicting these stunning characters of the period, the movie comes across as absorbing tale of intense and emotional journey through the life of a few who has been victims of their traditions and experiences. The promotional posters/billboards/promos don't create any impact whatsoever, which has left this 'Ozhimuri' with minimal expectations, but the movie must be definitely encouraged for its honest effort, though the director could have worked more over the tight, demanding scripts to make it one of the best in recent years.
The intensity of emotions between the lead couple is very high in the movie with both Lal and Mallika vying for top honors. In fact, the movie belongs to Lal who gives it all to this rather complex role and emerges trumps. His character appears very scary and rageful, but at the same time truly tranquil, incredibly unperturbed and really humane, which merges very well with the character with an 'uncontrollable fit' that he illustrates.
Mallika's stunning performance all through, is well supported by her able dubbing, the fine voice add to the feel of the character. Watch the next year's award ceremonies for the duo winning the most for their performances in this movie. Shwetha menon leaves a terrific impression once again, while Nandhu is a complete natural and catches ones attention instantly. Bhavana, Asif Ali and Jagadheesh just meet the demands of the role. The film has a number of talented actors essaying significant roles like the actors who played the judge and counsels, Meenakshy's brother and the Nadar Ayruveda practitioner.