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Sep 27, 2012


Mayamohini is all about Dileep. If you like the actor, who goes by the honorary title of "Janapriya Nayakan" (vaguely translated by me as darling hero of the crowds), this is one movie you cannot miss and you probably have already watched it. When Dileep revealed his 'Chanthupottu' act in Chanthupottu in 2005, it was established that no other actor in current Malayalam cinema can do a transgender role with the natural ease and daring of Dileep, that too without being ridiculed for the loss of masculinity. Kerala State film award committee overlooked his ground breaking performance in favor of Mohanlal’s exaggerated portrayal of an Alzheimer’s patient that year.

Since Chanthupottu was a tough act to follow, I didn’t think a story/movie would come along with the same hilarious-to-the-boot appeal anytime soon. Mayamohini was a pleasant surprise. Not only does Dileep shine in an entertaining transgender role, he (with the help of script writers Udayakrishna and Sibi K Thomas) also presents the character without causing any deja vus of the 2005 film.

In addition to Dileep, Mayamohini sees the transfiguration of Babulal, the brawny "ex-villain actor" into a full-blown comedy talent. Biju Menon, one of the other actors in a main role is also seen experimenting with comedy, progressing upwards from his slightly humorous role in the film, Ordinary. There are two female leads in the movie Lakshmi Rai and Mythili, but their roles are negligible.

Dissecting a movie into first half and second half is not a technique I enjoy, but this is one movie that begs for it. Sorry director Jose Thomas, you have given us a good entertainer, thanks to fantastic acting by the lead actor, but I regret to say the second half sucked. Same thing happened with Chanthoputtu too. As long as we get to keep Dileep in his transgender role, it is a laugh riot. But movie makers in order to give a proper ending and to reaffirm the status of hero as a man, make a 180 degree turn in the second half and in the end we have the same formulaic pot boiler with an annoying climax with stunts, car chases and villains galore.

That said, I’ll watch and re-watch it just to ruminate over Dileep’s wonderful performance as Mayamohini unlike many commenters and reviewers who are lamenting over the vulgarity, crassness and cheapness of the movie. Chill, people, relax and get into the zone, the Dileep zone that is, after all this is the first Malayalam movie with a gay kiss scene (don't take your family lest homosexuality is contagious from screen to audience), a bold move for a product of a hypocritical and conservative society such as Kerala.