Maniyarayile Ashokan (2020)

Ashokan (Gregory) starts his day by dreaming of his better half and a happy married life. However, in reality, he is a disappointed village office employee with an unlucky horoscope and inferior thoughts about his short stature. Everyone in his age bracket, including his best friend, is married except for him.

Like every bachelor who has crossed ‘the marital age’, Ashokan too is hounded by questions from his villagers and relatives including his cousin Ajayan (Sunny Wayne) who never misses a chance to tease him. Apart from his loving parents, Ashokan is supported by his friends Ratheesh (Krishna Sankar) and Shaiju (Shine Tom Chacko) who stand by him through thick and thin.

Maniyarayile Ashokan has a lot of twists and turns and the movie actually speaks about several beliefs including horoscopes and rituals related to weddings. Ashokan reminds one of Thalathil Dineshan from Vadakkunokkiyanthram who has severe inferiority complexes about his physique. However, the movie has a totally different story to narrate.

Gregory, who became popular through the sitcom Akkarakazhchakal and made his movie debut with ABCD alongside Dulquer Salmaan, has showcased memorable performances in short bursts in films such as 1983. But carrying an entire film as the lead is a whole different game but surprisingly he has done it really well.

The credit has to be shared with the makers of Maniyarayile Ashokan. The well written story and screenplay by Magesh Boji and Vineeth Krishnan has been beautifully made into a charming tale by director Shamzu Zayba. The shots have been smartly captured with the filmmaker using the expressions of Gregory’s co-stars to explain the reaction of the lead actor. And actors such as Vijayaraghavan, Shine Tom Chacko, Sreelakshmi, Krishna Sankar and Anupama Parameswaran do the job of covering up for any weakness of the lead actor, exceptionally well.

The film, which is an hour and 50 minutes long, flows like a heartwarming tale without creating any monotony, thanks to the fresh and green visuals by Sajad Kakku and feel good music by Sreehari K Nair. The movie is also about friendship, onscreen and off it. Dulquer, who has co produced the movie along with Gregory, has done a cameo role in the film. Shine Tom Chacko showcases a fabulous performance and so does Krishna Sankar. Sunny Wayne’s character is witty and annoying but most of all, different from what he has done so far.

Overall, Maniyarayile Ashokan is a slice-of-life story with a genuine dose of humour. In the time of Covid-19, Ashokan and team are bound to help you celebrate the little moments in life in this Onam release.

Review by Anjana George

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