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The chemistry or the Rasathantram between Mohanlal and director Sathyan Anthikkad is as bubbling as it was 12 years back. Savour the feel and emotions in a typical Sathyan film. Don’t look for great cinema, just enjoy as nice guys may lose initially but they end up as winners in the end.
Sathyan follows his time tested formula of a light hearted first half full of humour and a heavy latter half loaded with sentiments. There is nothing new in the Sathyan formula and in fact it is a rehash of his earlier characters and films.
Premachandran (Mohanlal) is the middle class friendly neighbourhood Mr Nice Guy who goes out of his way to make life better for others. He is extremely hardworking and devoted to his work as a carpenter and is an expert in Vaastu shastra. The man virtually lives for others with his gang of expert carpenters Manikandan Asari (Innocent) and others.
People in the village have blind faith in Premachandran and he stays with his father whom he calls Master (Gopi) a retired teacher. His neighbour (KPAC Lalitha), her daughter who has a silent admiration for him, house owner (Oduvil Unnikrishnan) a failed carpenter (Mamukoya) are the other people in the village.
One day while repairing the house of a rich contractor Roy Joseph (Sreekumar) Premachandran comes across Kanmani (Meera Jasmine) the maid servant who is like a slave in the house. He saves her from suicide and due to certain circumstances he disguises Kanmani as a boy Velayudhan Kutty and she comes to live in his house.
But one day police nab her after a complaint from Roy. In the court she blurts out that she is in love with Premachandran creating fresh problems for the man. Actually Premachandran has a past as he has taken upon himself a murder committed by someone else to save his sister’s honour! Now Premachandran has to look after Kanmani, the burden of his father and the entire village which has been evicted by the government for a power project.
The problem with Rasathantram is that it lacks a story but works on the Sathyan formula of Mohanlal as a do-gooder and provides comedy and sentiments in the right dose. Mohanlal is simply superb and his comedy timing, controlled emotions and outburst in the climax take the film to great heights. The scene where he removes the roof tiles and accidentally sees Meera taking a bath brings the house down (No actor can beat Mohanlal in such chammalscenes!).
Meera is perfect foil for Mohanlal and she does a great comedy act. As Velayudhan Kutty in disguise, her body language is a treat to watch. The way she falls for Premachandran and slowly makes him interested in her can be done only by a versatile actress like Meera. Sathyan regulars –Innocent, Oduvil, Mamukoya all are good. In the climax, Jagathy’s character is a bit contrived. Gopi as Mohanlal’s father is a right choice as the father-son emotional scenes are well handled.
Technically Rasathantram is far superior to previous Sathyan films. The director has paid more attention to the camera movements and outdoor locations near Thodupuzha are eye catching thanks to Azhagappan. Added to this, music score by Ilayaraja are all melodies especially the “ Attinkara Orathil…Chattal Mazha…” sung by Manjari and picturised on the lead pair in Vakamon being the pick of the album.
On the downside, the film drags especially in the second half and is too lengthy at 2 hours 40 minutes. The comedy and gags could have been scripted with a little more zing and credibility. Meera’s character almost disappears in the second half as the focus shifts to father-son sentiments. And even a new born baby can predict the end!
But what saves the film is the overall packaging by Sathyan and the way he has made it like ‘Saravana Bhavan thali meals’ with something for everyone in the family and is sure to provide entertainment to all. And at the end and you come out of the theatre smiling, it is only due to Mohanlal as nobody can do comedy so naturally.
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