Mamangam Movie Review: This Magnum opus film is just a decent watch which had lot of potential but limited itself going to that extent.
Last Modified On: 13 December 2019 | Reviewed By: Saurabh S Nair
Mammootty has given a terrific performance which is one of the highlights of the movie but the flawed screenplay and tacky CGI restricts its capability of being a wholesome experience.
Did you watch this movie? How much do you feel it was worth?
Cast: Mammootty, Unni Mukundan, Achuthan, Prachi Tehlan, Siddique
Directed By: M. Padmakumar
Mamangam is the costliest film of Malayalam cinema and with the huge star in the film who is known for making the films earlier periodic film, fans, and cine-goers were curious to watch this epic saga of bravery and sacrifice. But Mamangam turns out to be just a decent watch.
The film starts with a disclaimer that this film has historic inaccuracies for cinematic liberty which is refreshing because most of the periodic film just trivializes facts just for cheap entertainment.
As the title credits roll, director M Padmakumar takes us straight to the story of chaverukal, the suicide squads, who try to kill the Zamorin king so that they can reclaim what is theirs.
The story of Mamangam is set in the 17th century. The warriors who take the oath to kill the Zamorin ruler hail from the Chandroth family of Valluvanadu. Chandroth Valiya Panicker (Mammootty) is extremely close to achieving his and the entire village's dream. However, he fails. Decades later, the two remaining sons of the Chandroth family (played by Unni Mukundan and Master Achuthan) have the task of killing the Zamorin ruler during the next Mamangam festival (which comes once in 12 years).
Mammootty plays Chandroth Valya Panicker, a master warrior who escapes the battlefield after coming close to killing the Zamorin ruler. The movie opens with a battle scene where Valya Panicker and a group of suicidal warriors fight the army of Zamorin. Towards the end of the battle, Valya Panicker escapes from the battlefield, staining the Valluvanadan warrior clan’s reputation of being fearless.
After 24 years, Chandroth Panicker (Unni Mukundan), the new head of Valuvanadan warrior clan, decides to battle again. The movie adopts a very melodramatic approach to show the sentiments of women from the clan who have to send their men to the battlefield, knowing their chances of survival are bleak. Chandroth Panicker is accompanied by his nephew Chanthunni, a very young warrior who is shown as a prodigy just like Chandroth Valya Panicker.
The movie then shifts to a brothel in Tiruvanvaya where Mamangam happens. It is here that Mammootty’s character appears again in the film in an effeminate avatar. He meets his relatives Chandroth Panicker and Chanthunni who are determined to fight the battle. Mammootty’s character is portrayed as a preacher of the peace who warns his family members about the destiny that awaits the suicidal warrior clan. From then on, it’s a patient wait to know whether the warriors of Valluvanad can succeed on the battlefield and change their clan’s fate of martyrdom.
Mammootty is the hero of the film in the true sense, his dialogue delivery, screen presence is top-notch. The best thing about Mammootty as the performer his he has done the role of the warrior in periodic films like Oru Vadakan Veeragatha and Kerala Varma Pazhishi Raja but in all these films his performance is different from others and this can only be done by an actor with immense caliber.
Unni Mukundan flexes his muscle in over the top action sequences but doesn't have much dialogue to say.
Mamangam's release has been preceded by a series of controversies more dramatic than the film itself. Director M Padmakumar's last film Joseph is still memorable for its ruminative air and Joju George's career-defining performance. In Mamangam he is unable to fully exploit either his leading man's legendary brilliance or the large budget for which this film has made the news.
The films some of the weak points are its CGI, action sequences where men are just flying and questioning the existence of gravity but the writers have given a reason to it but still, it looks tacky.
Sajeev Pillai, the original screenwriter, and director of Mamangam were replaced following disagreements with the film’s producer. Mamangam shows glimpses of quality which one would expect from a screenplay that was well-researched and written by Pillai, but, mostly, the movie fails to live up to viewers' expectations as it is let down by the amateurish approach to the screenplay and direction.
The film is still watchable for Mammootty's performance and some historic events which we don't know much about.