Sajimon Prabhakar merged the sub-genre of disaster/survival movies – one that’s not very common in Indian cinema – with strong social commentary – on a topic that’s largely avoided in Indian cinema – in Malayankunju. An ambitious combination such as this meant that the film came with its set of remarkable highs as it worked excellently on certain fronts, alongside a few problematic and disappointing lows. It’s squarely centred on Anikkutan (Fahadh Faasil), a seemingly ordinary man who works as an electronics technician out of his home in the mountains, where he resides with his widowed mother. One, however, doesn’t need to scratch deep to see that he's filled with flaws, neuroses and demons. He’s difficult, troubled and rude; he carries unresolved baggage from the past which has led to an estranged relationship with his sister; and he’s filled with caste-based prejudices. Things, therefore, start slipping out of control when his neighbours – a couple belonging to the so-called lower caste – have a baby, whose cries disturb his sleep. Meanwhile there’re public service announcements of an impending natural disaster, which does strike in the form of devastating flood and landslides. Faasil gave a stunning turn as the edgy, taciturn and unlikeable character; the day-to-day activities and interactions preceding the disaster imbued the script with visceral undercurrents; and the disaster itself was crafted with immersive brilliance. That said, by linking Anikkutan’s casteist nature with his past – and thereby assigning a rationale to that – the director did a grave disserve to this noxious issue; further, while what transpires upon his being trapped by land collapse struck a strong emotional chord, the director conveniently provided a means for the cleansing of his toxicity through a heroic deed.
Director: Sajimon Prabhakar
Genre: Drama/Thriller/Psychological Drama/Social Drama/Disaster Movie