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Apr 28, 2008

Vinodayathra

Sathyan Anthikad tackles the picnic that is life in his 2007 movie, Vinodayatra. The literal translation of the title means 'Picnic' or 'Excursion'. It also means the 'journey of Vinod', the central character of the movie, Vinod played by Dileep. Somehow this reminds me of Benigni's Life is Beautiful, who made an imprisonment at a concentration camp in to picnic. This is a far less harmless situation, but the idea of life as a picnic is common to both.

Director(in the center), with two lead actors - Dileep and Mukesh
It looks like lately I tend to like every alternate Sathyan Anthikad movie. Gone are the days when all them were equally appealing. Narendran Makan Jayajanthan Vaka was interesting, but Yathrakkarude Shradykku and Manassinnakkare were so-so. Achuvinte Amma was good, but I stayed away from Rasathantram. Now in Vinodayatra, I could glimpse the shades of old Sathyan Anthikkad magic.

Dileep, contrary to what has been stated in the popular reviews of the film, I think has acted well. He has showed restraint and maturity in a role where he could have gone easily overboard. The first half, which has a 'larger' presence of Mukesh(who is getting rounder by day) is rife with comical situations, which thankfully doesn't fall in to the lows of forced rib-tickling fare. Thanks to the director and the script.

The second half gets more serious and focus is shifted to from Mukesh-Dileep duo to Meera Jasmine and Dileep. Murali, Vijayaraghavan, Sabitha are some of the faces who comes in to the movie in this changed scenario. Mamukaya and Innocent also has some subdued but natural roles. The songs are commendable in the sense that the lyrics are meaningful yet melodious. Probably won't be great hits, but they are hummable. That itself is a lot to ask from a Malayalam movie these days.

The bottom paragraph is the movie is a light, good entertainer. Although not in a class of Sathyan Anthikkad movies of the 80s or early 90s, it is a breath of fresh air in the current suffocating climate that exists in Malayalam cinema.

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