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Meppadiyan movie review: Unni Mukundan's Good Samaritan act needed a better script to be relatable

It’s not that the central theme of a man, who decides to put other’s happiness over his own, is unimaginable but the film doesn’t quite linger on the mindset of Jayakrishnan, who refuses to give up in the face of each problem

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

  • OTTplay

Last Updated: 10.00 AM, Jan 14, 2022

cover image
A still from Meppadiyan

Story: Jayakrishnan, who runs an automobile workshop, decides to buy a property for his sister, and begins looking out for prospective sellers. Philip, a shrewd acquaintance, shows him a piece of land, which would require Jayakrishnan to shell out more money than planned, but has the prospect of earning more while reselling the property later. After they finalise the deal, a series of roadblocks appear in Jayakrishnan’s life, partly due to his good nature to put other people’s concerns over his. From financial troubles to hindrances from the part of the court and government officials, will Jayakrishnan navigate through all of these or will he lose more than what he bargained for in the process?

Review: There are certain incidents that you hear in real life, where you think that it’s better than fiction and it would work well if it got a big screen version. But the problem with these incidents is that they are often impactful in a tale that lasts maximum for an hour. For the rest of the screen time, it requires the filmmaker or the scriptwriter to come with an engaging screenplay with fleshed-out characters and scenes that truly make the initial incidents even more compelling. This is where Vishnu Mohan’s Meppadiyan falls short. The movie’s inherent content revolves around a Good Samaritan who just seems to run out of luck and has to keep countering problems and finding a way to get through them.

The protagonist Jayakrishnan’s problems start when he finds himself strapped for funds to buy a large piece of land, which he initially wasn’t interested in at all. That was the first red flag. The second one comes soon after he finds that his partner can’t pitch in and later he has to put something even more dear to him on the line. While Vishnu might have attempted to up the stakes with these hurdles for drama’s sake, it doesn’t quite come off as convincing. Even if the protagonist is swayed by the problems of the other family, it seems too dramatic to go for a deal involving his own property for quick cash. The film does justify this with the mother too supporting the son, but that comes off as a convenient trope to excuse the son’s actions. It also begs the question why Jayakrishnan would ever partner with Saiju Kurup’s Philip, who the entire village considers a drunk and irresponsible man.

Unni Mukundan does make an earnest effort to show Jayakrishnan’s plight, but considering that the man has already made a series of decisions, driven by his heart than his mind, that brought him to this dire situation, it doesn’t make him quite relatable. The actor's scenes in the first half and denouement when Jayakrishnan is his carefree self are where he feels most comfortable. 

Vishnu, who has also scripted the film, wastes too much time in the first half chalking out the characters but this too is done in a haphazard and unimaginative way. It’s not that the central theme of a man, who decides to put other’s happiness over his own, is unimaginable but the film doesn’t quite linger on the mindset of Jayakrishnan, who refuses to give up in the face of each problem. Instead, the script rushes to the next hurdle its protagonist faces. In the hands of a more experienced director, the movie could have had a few heart-tugging moments that truly made use of Jayakrishnan's plight to move the audience. 

The film has a host of supporting characters such as Aju Varghese, Indrans, Shanker Ramakrishnan and Major Ravi who take the story forward. Anju Kurian and Kottayam Ramesh do a decent job with their limited roles. The film’s songs, composed by Rahul Subrahmaniam, are good and the movie has been shot well too by Neil D’Cunha. The background score though doesn’t go well with the emotions that Meppadiyan is trying to evoke and the denouement too doesn’t quite have the punch to save the movie.

Verdict: Despite a plot that has room for heart-tugging moments and a protagonist who braves all odds, Vishnu Mohan’s Meppadiyan takes a rather drab and unimaginative route to tell the story.

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