Unni Mukundan shines as "Ayyappan"
I want to start this blog with an honest apology to actor Unni Mukundan; because like 80 percent of Malayalee audience I had cynically judged him and written him off as “just another pretty face”! Unni Mukundan is an actor who just needed “that” bit. The perfect chance or role. I had liked him a lot in Vikramadithyan and he was then hauled and typecast into roles that weren’t really him.
I’m just a small-time blogger so I was surprised when my mother told me (she doesn’t request) to watch and review Malikapuram. I pushed back saying “what difference is my review going to make to Unni Mukundan ma”, because honestly Malikapuram wasn’t a genre I usually enjoy watching. But cut to the “emotional atyachaar” Indian moms are known for and I gave in. And boy am I glad I did!
Those who haven’t watched Malikapuram yet, please stop reading this blog. There are major spoilers ahead.
When my mom told me Malikapuram is the best movie she has ever watched in her whole life, I thought she was really exaggerating but that was enough to intrigue me!
Let me be honest, I started watching Malikapuram completely judgmental and ready to diss it from the moment go.
The movie started out introducing the story of a sweet little girl Kallu who has grown up listening to the stories of Lord Ayyappan from her grandmother and aspires to visit Sabarimala once in her lifetime. The story revolves around her desire to meet Ayyappan in person by visiting Sabarimala.
The story, to show its completeness, has its first half showing the little girl and her family and their circumstances, which I believe was presented in a very sweet manner.
Malikapuram starts out as a good children’s movie and my son enjoys it too. Now I, for one, was very happy because I’m not a very spiritual person but I finally had a chance to show my son a mythological movie where he can watch and decide for himself if he likes it and wants to follow it.
The movie actually begins when it shows Kallu and Piyush starting out on an adventurous “pilgrimage” of their own just by themselves. Now pilgrimage in its dictionary form means a ‘mystical experience’ and the writers have actually tried to portray this pilgrimage in a mystical way! Once the pilgrimage starts, the movie is about how Unni Mukundan helps the kids (who are on their own) reach Sabarimala safely.
Now, when I say I’m not a spiritual person, I don’t mean I don’t believe in God…I still pray everyday but I don’t believe in offering to deities anymore and instead believe in practicing spirituality in your deeds. Doing good brings good ; basic rule of Karma. And that is exactly why I liked Malikapuram because the movie is not just about the little girl’s devotion but how the adult swami who they meet on the bus believes in helping out other swamis visiting Sabarimala. That’s not blind devotion, but a true one. I didn’t know that little girls visiting Sabarimala for the first time are called “Malikapuram”. It’s very sweet the way Unni Mukundan refers to her as “Malikapuram” always.
Throughout the movie, we see Kallu’s interpretation of the stranger as lord Ayyappan. And I have to admit I got goosebumps when I saw Unni Mukundan’s transformation as lord Ayyappan fighting the goons off with a bow and arrows.
You realize at that moment that Unni Mukundan is the perfect choice for this role. His looks are definitely divine (any girl would agree) but the demeanor and posture that someone depicting God requires, was perfect in him! The actor has worked really hard for this role, and it clearly shows! His simple quirky mannerisms make him so lovable and his stance throughout the movie was simply perfection. A personal favorite is the one he is shown sleeping like Lord Ayyappan.
The moment his real identity is revealed, the actor changes his stance completely and that shows how good an actor he is. I’m so happy for Unni Mukundan and wish him well and hope to see him in many such good roles again. All hearts for this one!