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Madanolsavam review: Suraj Venjaramoodu’s political satire has enough laughs, but needed more zing

Suraj balances Madanan’s helplessness effectively and proves once again that he is capable of handling physical comedy and adding layers to his character

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 08.49 AM, Apr 14, 2023

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Story: Madanan Mallakkara, a common man who paints and sells chickens for a living, is forced to contest polls as a dummy candidate for a party due to his name being similar to another contestant, Madanan Manjakkara. Things turn topsy turvy after that, and Madanan Mallakkara is left to get himself disentangled from the situation and also reclaim his identity and life.

Review: Director Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval’s films, despite their overt genres, have also served as a social satire; none more potent than the filmmaker’s previous release Nna, Thaan Case Kodu that took a stinging look how a common man suffers at the hand of politicians that he had voted for. In that sense, Suraj Venjaramoodu’s Madanolsavam, which is scripted by Ratheesh and helmed by debutant Sudheesh Gopinath, serves as a companion piece to the Kunchacko Boban-starrer. But does it live up to the standards set by the latter? Not quite.

Suraj Venjaramoodu in a still from Madanolsavam
Suraj Venjaramoodu in a still from Madanolsavam

Madanolsavam is also political satire, one that focuses on a common man, who ekes out a living selling coloured chickens, and how his life goes for a toss overnight after a party forcibly makes him a dummy candidate due to the similarity of his name with another contestant. What follows is a series of hilarious events including kidnapping and bargaining as Madannan Mallakkara tries to get himself disentangled from the mess others had pushed him into.

Throughout the film, Sudheesh and Ratheesh keep injecting incidents that the audience can easily relate to from contemporary politics – be it a particular party’s tendency to resort to violence or the intended manipulation of the electorate. All this is shown through the series of events that Madannan Mallakkara goes through, just as he was building his life and house, literally. The latter elements help the audience empathise with his predicament but the goofiness in the script after a while, especially with the protagonist bonding with his kidnappers, suspends that aspect and takes the audience through a joyride that has plenty of laughs.


The comedy comes from the subplots that involve a duo of Namboothiri Brahmin siblings, who take up ‘quotations’ due to the difficulties in their ‘illam’, a crazy extreme-right politician and his PR consultant. Suraj balances Madanan’s innocence and helplessness effectively and proves once again that he is capable of handling physical comedy without making it seem slapstick and adding layers to his character. It’s a challenging prospect that Suraj aces effortlessly.

Rajesh Madhavam, Rakesh Ushar, Babu Antony and PP Kunhikrishnan, as the scheming uncle, also add to the humour with their characters. Thallumaala fame Swati Das’ character though seemed purposeless in the scheme of things. Debutante Bhama Arun also makes a mark with the film.

Suraj Venjaramoodu in a still from Madanolsavam
Suraj Venjaramoodu in a still from Madanolsavam

What works for the film too is the humour, and Ratheesh ensures there’s plenty of laughs and layers in this satire. However, in the second half, with Madanan having to go another round of everything he had to endure with another election season approaching, the incidents lacked the zing to be effective and engaging. It could also be because the events become predictable.

Shahnad Jalal experiments with the frames in the film and manages to keep the visuals lively as much as possible with great aid from Christo Xavier’s music.

Verdict: Madanolsavam has enough laughs and would definitely please those who are inclined to social satires, but the movie’s required more verve to keep the audience engaged in the second half.