Odiyan Review – Mohanlal – Prakash Raj – Manju Warrier
The humongous hype associated with V.A.Shrikumar Menon’s (in his feature-film debut) Mohanlal flick Odiyan has culminated with the film finally gracing theaters this morning. No film from Mollywood has been party to such a situation in the recent past and this is one film for which a vast majority of the film watching fraternity was waiting in high anticipation to see it on the big screen. The marketing team behind this project have done a commendable job and needs to be applauded for thinking out of the box and finding new ways to increase the reach of the film.
The way in which they did their homework right from day one through various innovative branding methods to ensure Odiyan remain in the limelight as a hot topic of discussion on many platforms is a lesson for others in this field. The graph of Odiyan once the project was announced was always on the upward curve. Anyway leaving all these pre-release things aside and heading straight into what Odiyan is all about, how the film is and whether it has matched all the hype surrounding it. And only that’s what matters now.
At the Global launch of the film a few days back held at Dubai, Mohanlal said that this film has many specialities and went on to add that with Odiyan the makers are putting one step forward in taking Malayalam films to another level. After watching the film, I wouldn’t completely endorse that statement. Yes the story and concept is fresh and Shrikumar Menon the director, Harikrishnan the writer and people associated with this film have visualized something novel for a Malayalam film but sadly though there are moments that have come out well, in totality Odiyan is strictly a one time watch and doesn’t live up to its hype.
Odiyan as we all know is a myth that existed in the Malabar region in pre-electricity era. These people are believed to possess supernatural powers to change their forms to animals. Inspired from the folklore, Odiyan the film chronicle the life of Manikyan from his childhood to middle age and portray how he uses his magical powers as an Odiyan. The film starts from the present and then goes back and forth through flashbacks unwinding the past of Manikyan in a non-linear format.
Film starts of well and sets a promising mood for something exciting but that positivity is lost thereafter. Lack of a proper story with depth is one of the main attribute that kills the flow of the film. Add to it, too much lagness in the screenplay. The film is overstretched and have a number of unwanted scenes that added to the misery. Overdose of dramatic dialogues especially in those scenes involving Manikyan and Prabha, lack of action sequences, a punchless climax action shots have all contributed in pulling this heavily hyped film to an average zone.
Apart from the central character of Manikyan, there are a few other pivotal roles that deserved more weightage in the story but sadly they all end up looking like half baked and under-developed characters. The concept was an exciting and promising one but the vision of the director and writer failed to capitalze on that. The absence of all-out mass scenes in stories like these would naturally raise the pertinent question of class.Odiyan doesn’t belong to the latter category as well.
Mohanlal as Manikyan passes through various phases and have multiple age category to portray in the film. As we all know, he had undergone facial changes as well as body transformation and weight reduction. This is something he has done seldom in his long and glittering career. To be fair to the actor, he has done cent percent justice to the character of Manikyan. The elder Manikyan talks very rarely and to make up for that the actor have to use his facial expressions and eyes to convey what he wants to say. Prakash Raj, Siddhique, Manju Warrier, Naren, Kailash and Nandu are the supporting actors who all suffered because of not giving ample space in the subject.
Coming to the technical side, VFX was a letdown. Background score by Sam CS was impressive. M.Jayachandran’s song compositions were also good with the Shreya Ghoshal song already among the hit charts. There was another song sung by Mohanlal that was released a few days before the release. It wasn’t included in the film. Let me know if anyone heard it in the end when the final credits were rolling. The volume during those portions completely went off so not sure. Visuals were good but the action sequences that happens mostly at night lacked clarity and wasn’t captured properly.
I started writing this review by praising the director and his innovative marketing strategy to give maximum hype. But now there are chances that these same publicity stunts can become a pain and headache for the film. Excessive branding is not an ideal thing and if the product doesn’t live up to that standard, it will be rejected. People expecting a mass action film with powerful dialogues, let me tell you Odiyan doesn’t fit in those category and is more tilted towards drama and emotions. Odiyan is not a total disappointment nor an overwhelming film but it is not worth the hype.
Chandra Mohan Gopinath