The movie, directed by by Syam Muraleedharan, features senior actors Madhupal and Maria Vincent in titular roles
Madhupal, Maria Vincent
Queen of Thonnakkal, helmed by Syam Muraleedharan revolves around a Panchayat election of Thonnakkal, a village in Trivandrum, Kerala. The storyline takes us to the aftermath of the reservation of seats for women in elections. Centering around the veteran politician and panchayat president Paulose Pazhukkapilly (Madhupal), and his daughter Jiji Paulose (Maria Vincent), who is a social media influencer, the movie deals with the latter’s entry into politics.
Even though the movie is presented as a political satire, it appeared more as a half-baked attempt at the same, where many facts are portrayed pessimistically. It is a good take to chronicle the reservation of seats for women in politics, but the methodology and conclusion seem to be twisted, as women in the movie are showcased either as empty-headed or as incapable of handling politics without the help of a man. As soon as the women reservation has been announced, the frontline male politicians could be seen devastated, and trying to find a woman representation just to meet the criteria and reservation policy.
The election strategies used feel exaggerated at some scenes, which could be a failed attempt to bring satire on contemporary political scenarios. The film brings forth several current issues but goes misogynistic while trying to portray the women candidates. It is interesting to note that no women in the movie happen to have a political stand or knowledge in politics themselves, or are properly aware of the party ideologies they represent. It cements the basic stereotypical notion about women politicians to be naive and mindless. The only theme which is addressed properly is mental health, where the actress could be seen explaining the importance of mental health awareness when she is alleged to be ‘crazy’.
The storyline which began with a particular idea gets scattered towards the end, and many new incidents were introduced from nowhere to fill the void in the climax. One would be confused about the direction in which the movie is progressing. Many characters were introduced without any proper background to their roles, and many also disappeared without a convincing explanation. The majority of the characters are not developed properly so that one would feel perplexed about their persona, or would struggle to find out who they are. The film also introduces many unnecessary characters who add nothing to the story.
While coming to the performance of the actors, the only positive thing is senior actor Madhupal, who handles the titular role. Though it is a women-centric movie, the woman who played a central role presented an average performance, without any proper character arc. Many supporting actors were either overperforming or below average as they were struggling with the dialogue delivery.
Though many scenes are shot excellently with different camera angles, the cinematography seems dull. The whole experience of the two-hour-long movie didn’t feel cinematic or present a larger-than-life experience. It, on the other hand, had the look and feel of a short film.
The entire movie experience is below average, but you may give it a chance to get an idea about the problematic representation of sensitive issues like gender politics.