‘Mandakini’ movie review: Althaf Salim, Anarkali Marikar’s wedding drama entertains in parts only

Althaf Salim and Anarkali Marikar featured in the promotional poster for ‘Mandakini’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Mandakini presents the tumultuous happenstances following the union of Althaf Salim and Anarkali Marikar’s characters. Under Unni Leela’s direction, we embark on a journey with Aromal (portrayed by Althaf) and his new bride, Ambily (played by Anarkali), experiencing an unexpected turn on their wedding night. A mix-up leads Ambily to consume a potent concoction intended for Aromal. Under its influence, she reveals secrets about her past love, Sujith Vasu (enacted by Ganapathy), and expresses a determined desire to see him once again. Rajalakshmy (Saritha Kukku), Aromal’s mother, resolves to facilitate this meeting, thus setting the stage for the unfolding tale.

Amidst the prevalent theme of alcohol within the script, viewers find themselves constantly reminded of the health hazards associated with drinking and smoking. While the film delves deep into scenes of inebriated celebration, they become somewhat wearisome after a while; notably, ‘Mandakini,’ also the title of a liquor brand, seems to double down on this aspect.

Althaf, in his lead role, embodies the naive Aromal with aplomb. His characteristic stone-faced humor and distinctive delivery, celebrated by audiences in his prior work, are visible here as well. Nevertheless, Aromal’s character struggles to differentiate itself, causing the comedic impact to occasionally falter.

Althaf Salim and Anarkali Marikar in the promotional poster for 'Mandakini'

Althaf Salim and Anarkali Marikar in the promotional poster for ‘Mandakini’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In a refreshing turn, female perspectives are central to the narrative. Anarkali portrays Ambily with conviction, while Saritha Kukku leaves a mark as Rajalakshmy, the assertive and independent mother steering a driving school. Some emotional expressions may have presented a challenge, yet her scenes, especially the confrontation with Sujith, are notably compelling.

Mandakini (Malayalam)

Director: Unni Leela

Cast: Althaf Salim, Anarkali Marikar, Saritha Kukku, Vineeth Thattil, Ganapathy, Aswathy Sreekanth

Run-time: 127 minutes

Storyline: On his wedding night, the unsophisticated Aromal unexpectedly finds his life thrown into chaos.

Supporting performances add to the movie’s vibrancy. Vineeth Thattil tickles the funny bone as Unni, Aromal’s brother-in-law, with his witticisms in the Thrissur dialect. Ganapathy effortlessly fills the shoes of Sujith. Additionally, Althaf, as well as director Lal Jose, Jeo Baby, Jude Anthany Joseph, and Ajai Vasudev, grace the screen in cameo roles, whereas Bibin Ashok’s soundtrack melds harmoniously with the plot.

In summary, while ‘Mandakini’ features ripe scenarios for laughter and boasts a talented cast, it doesn’t leverage its potential to the fullest.

‘Mandakini’ is now playing in cinemas.

Leave a Comment