Sathyan Anthikkad is a director who has given Malayalees many iconic films. He has represented the dilemma of Malayalees, the struggle of a Malayalee to come to terms with the ever changing world around. Be it Gopalakrishna Panicker (Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam) who wants to sell of his home in the city to pay off his debts, or T.P. Balgopalan (T.P.Balagopalan M.A) a post graduate who is trying to work honestly in an environment where everyone is forcing him to abandon his principles, or Murali (Varavelpu) who returns to Kerala to start his business but eventually leaves Kerala, Sathyan has always presented the issues of Malayalees and Kerala in a way which has made us laugh and think at same time. In the last decade or so however he has been churning out mediocre films one after another. Hence I was apprehensive of how will Sathyan treat his latest film Ennum Eppozhum.

For those who want to know if Sathyan has made better films, my answer would be yes, this is not in the league of his best, but for me post Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal, this is his best work.

We have Vineeth N Pillai (Mohanlal) a slacker who is working in a women’s magazine. Vineeth is someone whom most people would call a loser if you measure by certain corporate standards. Vineeth is assigned to do a cover story on Deepa (Manju Warrier), a lawyer who is in the headlines due to her protest against pothole filled roads. Deepa is a person who hates the limelight and refuses to grant time for interview. The rest of film delves into how Vineeth and Deepa bond. In terms of the plot there is nothing to write about, but credit here to the actors who rise above an average screenplay and deliver one of their best performances.

Mohanlal as a man-child who is somewhere lost in this ever changing world is refreshing to watch, I hope he does more of such roles than horrendous films like Mr.Fraud. It is a delight to watch Mohanlal in roles such as Vineeth in  Ennum Eppozhum. Watch out for the scene where he says he will pray for Deepa, or the scenes where he talks to God, he is simply a delight to watch. The scene where he replies to his colleague (Reenu Mathews) that he also likes the song is another example of why it is great to watch him on screen as Vineeth N Pillai.

The problem with the film is that both Vineeth N Pillai and Deepa’s characters are uni-dimensional and they do not have any growth as such in the film. These role in the hands of actors of less caliber would have been a mess, but Manju Warrier and Mohanlal save the film by their extraordinary performances.

As usual Sathyan Anthikad touches the topics which modern day Malayalees face, one such is the scam of luxury villas, you can see photos of luxury villas adorning hoardings across Kerala, encashing the Malayalees sentiment of owning a house in Kerala. But most of these houses never get made on time and the quality of such villas is always a question mark. Other topics touched upon include the Palakkad people’s obsession for value for money and disdain for expensive clothes, or the latest destination which every Malayalee is visiting these days-Lulu Mall in Cochin,making it perhaps the second biggest attraction after Guruvayoor these days :), the classic Malayalee dilemma of celebrating birthday with payasam and forsaking his/her favourite beef. Sathyan still has a pulse on Malayalees.

Ennum Eppozhum PosterSathyan also brilliantly captures the spirit of independent woman, she is not bitter or angry. Deepa is happy with her profession, she adores her child, but that does not mean her profession or hobby take a back seat over her child. When she falls in love with a man, she is the one who calls up and says the same to him.

There are a few things that  I did not like like the comedy track of Renji Panicker, it is so sad to see such cheap gags in Anthikkad films. The last song acts as hindrance when Sathyan has already established the relationship between the protagonists. Especially when he has captured it so beautifully when Manju breaks down in hospital on Mohanlal’s shoulder.

For me the star of the film is Manju Warrier who holds her against Mohanlal. The way she dances, the way she brings Deepa to life on screen, undoubtedly she is one of the best actresses India has ever produced.

This may not be Sathyan, Mohanlal or Manju’s best film of their careers, but nonetheless it is not a bad or boring film. It engages us and Vineeth and Deepa do leave their mark in our hearts.

Ennum Eppozhum is the best example in recent times of how great actors can infuse life and charm and salvage a below average script under the guidance of good director.