Lifesaving friendship and humanism as the doubly reinforced theme of a film, can result in a kind of mass appeal, if the narration takes the right route with the help of enchanting visuals and a bedrock of background score.This is what a major chunk of the audience would be experiencing during their presence in the theatres,watching the Malayalam film Manjummel Boys.
South Indian cinema including the Malayalam film industry, has been quite some time celebrating gory violence, as an offshoot of horrid,inhuman storylines,in the name of action thrillers. Théâtre visits became uncomfortable events on account of profuse blood,spilling on the big screen. In such a situation a film like Manjummel Boys delivers fresh hope of good cinema through the selection of a real-life storyline by Chidambaram S.Poduval.
The initial moments of the film moving from the glowing Palani temple to a wedding celebration spot in Kerala,gives no clues about what was meant for the audience, during the rest of the film.The amount of gusto seen among the various guests at the marriage venue, followed by a scene of fisticuffs leading to a tug of war,keeps the audience guessing.
Then follows the hurly burly planning among a group of friends proposing a tour to goa, which is subsequently shifted to Kodaikanal via Palani. One of the friends planning the tour also casually refers to the Guna Cave [named so, after the release of Kamalahasan's film Guna which depicted a grand romantic journey in a cave at Kodaikanal through a letter episode}
In retrospect one could think that the film's title show which begins with the famous letter song from Guna,is perhaps a prelude to the prospective core scene of action at Kodaikanal. The rest of the film stands purely on its merits of grand visuals, excellent photography the mighty musical content of Sushin Shyam and the spontaneous display of collective emotions simultaneously shown by the entire group of friends.What makes the film more special is the cast of many unfamiliar faces, who certainly affirm that they have something positive to contribute for Malayalam cinema in the future
Among the actors Soubin Shahir as a co producer and as almost the protagonist character Kuttan,and Sreenath Bhasi as Subash, are pointedly noticeable in their roles. However,no actor forming part of the group of friends could be called insignificant. There are no specific women characters, other than those playing the role of Subash's mother and the lady doctor who appears in the climax.No duets!. No comedy!. No villainy!. But still the films is counted on its strong base of immaculate humanism and impeccable narration. It is yet another proud moment for Malayalam cinema.
Note:- Realistically,the title'Manjummel men' would have been the right choice for the film.But the high voltage energy level displayed by the group of friends has made 'Boys'a better option than'men'.This review will be incomplete, without any mention about the Tamil speaking characters in Kodaikanal and in this respect, George Maryan deserves an earnest acknowledgement.