Odiyan movie review: Mohanlal’s Manikyan is fast and sharp, but the film is not

Updated on Dec 14, 2018 04:18 PM IST
Odiyan movie review: Actor Mohanlal’s film narrates the story of Manikyan a member of the Odiyan clan, which -- according to Malayalam folklore -- has the ability to shape-shift into animals.
Odiyan movie review: Mohanlal plays the role of Manikyan in the film directed by VA Shrikumar Menon.
Odiyan movie review: Mohanlal plays the role of Manikyan in the film directed by VA Shrikumar Menon.
Hindustan Times | By

Odiyan
Director: VA Shrikumar Menon
Cast: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Prakash Raj, Sana Althaf
Rating: 2/5

 

Odiyan is the story of a man who instills fear in a community with his shape-shifting abilities and eventually falls prey to the artform. Mohanlal plays Odiyan Manikyan, a member of the Odiyan clan, which -- according to Malayalam folklore -- has the ability to shape-shift into animals. The Odiyan clan functions when the night is at its darkest and scares people.

From the first shot of a ghat in Varanasi to the last one, Odiyan narrates the story of Manikyan and people who cross paths with him. The story is as old as the ghats – a tale of lust and revenge that wrecks the life of two women, Prabha (Manju Warrier) and Meenakshi (Sana Althaf).

Prakash Raj, who plays Ravunni Karimuka Nair, is the villain of the piece. He wants to distance Prabha from Manikyan and will go to any lengths. In this simple tale, what stand out are the many visual metaphors. For instance, when a communist worker is out tying flags in the dark and sees Manikyan, he says he cannot stand Manikyan playing with the minds of people and encouraging superstitions.

While he does take the high ground, he doesn’t start a fight with Manikyan for this noble reason but to satisfy his ego and to prove to himself that he is superior. However, the film makes it clear that they are both equally good or bad.

 

Throughout the film, it is clear that the filmmaker doesn’t want to highlight Manikyan’s good side, but instead wants to dig deeper into the psyche of other characters. For instance, Ravunni’s need to have his way with Prabha, or at one point, her sister Meenakshi, shows not his love, but his desperation for a woman of a certain class. He has an affair with another woman, who stays with him through every sin his commits, yet when she asks for a sari, Ravunni says only Prabha is the person who can get saris from him.

Manikyan is taught by his grandfather that Odiyans are not supposed to kill people, but only scare them for a payment. There is a scene in which Prabha asks Manikyan, “I heard you earned a lot of money recently,” and he replies, “The man I scared is right now at the hospital.” He is proud of his skill and it shows in his tone.

The stunts choreographed by Peter Hein are worth every penny. In fact, the only engrossing parts in the film are the stunts. The climax, in parts unreal, but paced perfectly, is the one that stands out.

On the low side, the screenplay is lethargic and dialogues are unnecessarily long. For instance, the scene featuring a drunk Manikyan and his drunk grandfather goes on forever. There is a respite in the form of an action sequence in between, but even after that, the dialogue stretches.

Similarly, when the older Manikyan returns from Varanasi to Thenkurissi, a group of young men, who have never seen an Odiyan in action, egg him on to frighten any one of them. This scene goes on till your eyes glass over.

Another area that needed improvement are the film’s special effects. A scene which was laughably bad had Mohanlal saving a woman from drowning. The CGI was so shoddily done that audiences were bubbling with laughter, all of it unintentional.

In the end, Odiyan was like a rubberband that was stretched to the point of breaking. The one to snap, of course, was the audience.

Author tweets @Priyanka_S_MCC
Follow @htshowbiz for more

ott:10:ht-entertainment_listing-desktop
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now