Rajisha Vijayan and Sharafudheen’s Madhura Manohara Moham is replete with incidents, that mock hypocrisy, preconceived notions and feudal mindsets of people
Story: Usha and her eldest son Manu take pride in the bond their family shares. After Manu learns an unexpected truth about his younger sister Meera, who is considered the more responsible one in the family and a role model, he, Usha and their family friends decide to take action – by ensuring that their community doesn’t get wind of what’s going on.
Review: In a scene in debutant Stephy Zaviour’s Madhura Manohara Moham, Usha, the mother of its protagonists Meera (Rajisha Vijayan) and Manu (Sharafudheen), has her routine talk with the local fish-seller, who tells her about another family in the area who doesn’t even give her water. We then see how Meera gives her mother tea in a glass tumbler to give it to the fish seller. But as their conversation continues, Usha transfers the tea into a steel tumbler and passes this to her, while listening to the seller praising the former’s family. Madhura Manohara Moham, which is written by Mahesh Gopal and Jai Vishnu, is replete with such incidents, which poke fun at the traditions, hypocrisy, preconceived notions and feudal mindsets of people.
What works most for the movie is how it is packaged as a simple, feel-good comedy with each of its characters having their quirks and struggles to deal with. This is also the movie’s Achilles heel, as the solutions to most of these come easy – unlike in real life.
The first half of the film begins with showcasing the bond of the family, which forms a pivotal element in the movie especially when one of its protagonists admits that despite growing up together, he doesn’t know his sister. Manu (Sharafudeen), the eldest in the family and a government employee, becomes the secretary of a branch of Nair Service Society to impress his girlfriend’s father (Vijayaraghavan). After the latter, a staunch opposer of inter-caste marriage like most in Manu’s community, finds out about his relationship with his daughter, he agrees to get them married. Manu, however, asks for time to arrange his sister Meera’s wedding. He soon learns a secret about her that forces him to re-evaluate his perception of Meera.
The movie has several bright ideas, right from the start, in terms of how it presents its characters and also mocks their hypocrisy – first to do with their caste and then their selective tolerance to religions. It also subverts how a person with multiple affairs is presented in Malayalam cinema and this leads to some hilarious scenes – especially the reactions of those in the family. Rajisha and Sharafudheen shine in these sequences, which are also aided by the several delightful cameos of actors such as Niranj Maniyanpilla Raju and Saiju Kurup. Althaf Salim, Sunil Sukhada and Vijayaraghavan keep the laughs coming, thanks to how their characters are conceived.
The film, despite its laughs and smart characters, fails to capitalise on its plot and chooses to take the predictable path in its third act. Had it not played it safe and tried to please all sections of the audience, the film could have left the audience with something to ponder on. Now, it just sort of ends up being a cautionary tale.
That said, Stephy makes a solid debut as a filmmaker as Madhura Manohara Moham is a film that has enough to keep you smiling from start to end. The female characters in the movie also get their space to make their stance in the movie; even the minor ones such as a fishseller or a character’s mother who drives her family to meet her son’s prospective bride. Its visuals and music blend into the breezy feel it tries to create.
Verdict: If you are in the mood to watch a simple, breezy comedy, Stephy Zaviour’s Madhura Manohara Moham won’t disappoint.