I have had a lifelong fear of hospitals and have always thought of them as giving off negative energy and a sense of dread. It is within those confines however, that director Ahammed Khabeer delivers one of the most heartwarming, feel-good stories in Malayalam this year in the simple but profound ‘Madhuram’.
Weaving its story around a group of bystanders who find camaraderie in a government hospital, the director introduces us to myriad characters, each with their own joys and pain. Indrans is captivating as a retired postman, finding solace in the romance him and his ailing wife of 40 years share.
Joju George has a uncanny ability to make the audience feel and empathize with almost every expression he goes through on screen and the National Award winner revels as ‘Sabu’, a happy-go-lucky chef looking after his sick wife. His chemistry with Shruti Ramachandran is electric and is the best part of the movie.
Arjun Asokan picks up a brave role, a far cry from the usual characters he plays. Understated, diminutive and even submissive, ‘Kevin’ may frustrate you at times but his character development through the movie was a joy to watch.
Veterans Lal and Jagadeesh are both is terrific in short cameos while Navas Vallikkunnu keeps showing us he deserves full-length character roles, packing a punch with his presence in just 2-3 scenes. Jaffer Idukki continues to grow from strength to strength and is at his nuanced best as ‘Kunjikka’.
The music of the movie contributes majorly in amplifying the experience and the emotions, especially the sensational ‘Gaaname’ , that will surely stay with you long after the movie ends. Hats off to Hesham Abdul Wahab for a fantastic new set of compositions after he enthralled us with ‘Darshana’.
This does not mean the movie didn’t have its downsides. Nikhila Vimal was given precious little screen time and dialogues to work with and her character comes across as one dimensional. Fahim Samar was inept as ‘Thaju’ and one cant help but think a better actor could have made that role more impactful and endearing.
Ultimately Madhuram’ is a simple, heartwarming tale of coming to terms with what life throws at you, no matter how dire or seemingly unsurmountable the challenges may be. This, along with the delightful #Home (2021) is what feel-good movies should aspire to be rather than the preachy, melodramatic, template messes makers like Jis Joy keep putting out.
Review by nidhunmoviebuff