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Kadha Thudarunna
Cast Mamta Mohandas, Jayaram, Asif Ali, KPAC Lalitha, Anikha
Director Sathyan Anthikkad
Rating G

Malayalam cinema does not usually sink into melodramatic mess, but the tendency to waver and be a Bollywood extravaganza cannot be missed. Writer-director Sathyan Anthikkad's latest offering Kadha Thudarunna makes an effort not to tumble into the stereotypical, formulaic fare. And succeeds to a pleasing point.

Scripted with refreshing sincerity, the film follows the story of a young widow Vidyalakshmi Nambiar (Mohandas), with her daughter Laya (Anikha) whose husband dies in an extraordinarily tragic circumstance. Married to Shanavas (Ali), against her family's wishes, she finds herself rootless till she finds a kindred soul in a rickshaw driver Preman (Jayaram). His overt belief in parrot astrology and Omannakunjamma's (Lalitha) supreme confidence in her daughter's chastity make wonderful characterisations.

However, Kadha Thudarunna is at times tempted to choose the easy way out to drive the story forward by infusing tear-jerking emotions. It's strange how Vidyalakshmi, who almost became a doctor, finds herself on the streets. Her turn of feelings for Preman through an imagined song-and-dance number merely indicates Anthikkad's desperation to get the box-office ringing.

Some engaging performances do manage to tilt the balance closer to a more favourable incline. Anikha is a charming natural, and often steps in as the scene stealer. Jayaram gives a nuanced portrayal in a role that limits his usual ability, but Mohandas certainly disappoints as a woman abandoned by family and friends.