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Nov 2, 2011


A selfless teacher on a mission to set straight a bunch of unruly kids - where have I heard this theme before? Every language in human history with an established film industry might have tackled this subject in one form or the other at some time. Hollywood produced classics like Blackboard Jungle, To Sir with Love and Stand and Deliver where an inspiring educator elevates underprivileged or inner city kids who have no interest in education to shiny beacons of the future.

In 2011 movie Manikyakallu, Prithviraj – Malayalam’s leading contender for the next superstar, goes noble as newly appointed teacher Vinayachandran at Vannamala High School notorious for its 100% failure rate. His altruistic mission to make prodigies out of distracted kids is beset with troubles and trouble-makers. But as expected of an upcoming superstar none of these can rein in our self-sacrificing man on a mission for long. Every enemy is brought to his/her knees through an event or incident reminiscent of Aesop’s fables. Lessons on morals and ethics are served to these fallen adversaries and thus indirectly to viewers in the form of fawning dialogs, songs with lyrical messages and implausible character turnarounds.

Most characters in this movie fall into either black and white category with only a few showing shades of grey. Those who are fortunate to play these roles include Samvrutha Sunil, KPAC Lalitha, Nedumudi Venu, Jagdeesh, Anil Murali, Jagathy Sreekumar and others. By the end of the movie though every part actor has given up his dark aspect and joined the forces with the light, thanks to our self-effacing hero. All I can ask at this point overpowered by a story of gooey-goodness is, isn’t this movie fifty years too late?