Mizhikal Sakshi: Mohanlal, Ashok R Nath Film

Mizhikal Sakshi (2008) is an Indian film in malayalam language directed by Ashok R. Nath starring Mohanlal and Sukumari.

Cast and Crew

Language: Malayalam
Genre: Drama
Banner: Cyber Vision
Director: Ashok R Nath
Producer: V.R. Das, V. Mohanlal
Story, Screenplay, Dialogue: Anil Mukhathala
Cinematography: Ramachandra Babu
Lyrics: O.N.V Kurupu
Music: Dakshinamoorthy
Release: 20 June 2008
Runtime: 111 min
Certification: U
Cast: Mohanlal, Sukumari, Mala Aravindan, Manoj K. Jayan, Krishna, Ramu Mangalappalli, Satheesh Menon, Kailas Nath, Dinesh Panicker, Krishna Prasad, Kochu Preman, Renuka, Nedumudi Venu, Vineeth

Ashok R Nath's Mizhikal Sakshi showcases a directorial style that's slow and stilted which lends a customary air to the entire film. While the sentimentality is pretty oppressive, the film sports a vague dullness throughout that makes it more cinematic than genuine.

Mizhikal Sakshi chronicles the lone journey of Kooniyamma (Sukumari), a hapless widow who has taken to the streets after her revolutionary son (Mohanlal) meets an untimely death at the gallows. Having never really been able to come to terms with her brutal loss, she roams around in search of her lost son, until the horrible truth finally dawns on her.

I was regularly reminded of the 1984 Bharathan classic, Ithiripoove Chuvanna Poove, as I watched Kooniyamma give vent to her despair. The two films exist on entirely different planes, barring the common thread of a mother's anguish that runs across them. The Bharathan film banks on a solid tale to drive its point across, and the masterly brush of its director ensures that the final portrait is flawless. Mizhikal Sakshi on its part remains unfocussed for quite a while and as it finally gains some focus, loses out on its vitality totally.

There are a fewissues of grave relevance being dissected here, but Mizhikal Sakshi dwells too much on an issue that has been reiterated too often. Religion and terrorism have remained a topic of prime interest to several of our filmmakers who have come up with variant versions, that have at times inspired and intrigued us, and at others, plainly let us down. Mizhikal Sakshi does neither as it gets wedged in a deep dent midway, and never really gets out of it thereafter.

Perhaps there is indeed a need for attention to detail in a film as this, and yet the first one hour is spent in a whole lot of sermonizing that never gets beyond the preaching point. There is always the tremendous risk of those formulaic chestnuts rolling in, when one dabbles with a genre as this. Here they all lie in wait for a while, and then arrive in a huge gush. And thus we have the extremists in tow, as the camera flits across the temple premises on to a mosque and then to a church.

Sukumari grabs the role of a lifetime with a vengeance, and sees to it that Kooniyamma transcends the silver screen. The acuteness of her performance is hence etched out through minor nuances; an impassive twitch on her cheeks or the trembling lips. There is simply no end to the misery that ebbs from her eyes and the torment that flows out of her sobs. Mizhikal Sakshi is a film that depends entirely on this powerhouse performer, and she doesn't disappoint, even for a second. Mohanlal does an apt cameo as the intellectual son, wrongly accused of being a traitor, and brings about a fierce calmness in his character that's tremendously captivating. Kochu Preman as the Cholli Swami gets his act right as well.

The best thing about Mizhikal Sakshi, apart from Sukumari, are those lilting songs tuned to perfection by the veteran composer, Dakshinamoorthy. In a musical scenario fast being overpowered by cacophony and dissonance, the Mizhikal Sakshi songs remain rich, profound and absolutely resonant.

Mizhikal Sakshi could very well go down as a potentially well-intentioned movie that ends up being a melodramatic mush. And if it still manages to tug at your heart strings, let's have a huge round of applause for that astonishing actress aboard.

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