“Malayankunju,” the directorial debut of Sajimon Prabhakar, was released on the big screen on July 22nd, 2022, and has been streaming on Amazon Prime Video since August 11th, 2022. This is a story about an electronic technician who does repairs in and around his town and lives in the hilly areas of Idukki.
The Story Of Anilkumar And His Surroundings
“Malayankunju” begins with heavy rains engulfing the hilly and cold areas of Idukki, the local administration informing locals of possible landslides due to heavy to very heavy rainfall. Anil, played by Fahadh Fasil, is a local go-to repair guy, an electronic technician who is grumpy by nature and lives with his widowed mother. Villagers know of his behavior and tend to stay out of his bad books. His tragic past involving his father keeps bothering him, and his estranged relationship with his sister Sandhya (played by Rajisha Vijayan) is also a bane of his existence, for she decided to marry someone outside their caste, and he has refused to speak to her ever since. Their mother has long forgiven her, but Anil refuses to acknowledge her, her marriage, and her son.
Anil is content with his life so far, following his passion for repairing electronic items from every household to high-end resorts in and around the town. He lives with his mother, who takes care of the household and is slightly intimidated by her son’s nature. His impatient behavior causes friction between him and his neighbor, who had just delivered a baby girl. Irritated by her constant crying, he starts retaliating in a childish manner, which leads to an altercation at a local bar, where Anil reveals his casteist nature. Following a truce with the same neighbor, Anil’s home is hit by the landslide, and how he survived the ordeal forms the climax of the film.
‘Malayankunju’ Ending Explained: Does Anil Survive The Landslide?
Anil, so engrossed in his past, erupts into another friction between him and his mother, and meanwhile, his neighbors prepare to evacuate their homes as the rains are intensifying and move to shelter homes. Anil refuses to move out with his mom. The landslide hits his home with such intensity that Anil gets stuck below all the debris of his home and is submerged in the water due to heavy rainfall. The last 45 minutes of the film are about Anil switching on to his survival mode and deciding to rescue himself from all the stones, mud, tree trunks, and increasing water level. Through his survival mode, he sees the dead body of his acquaintance, keeps hearing the crying of the neighbor’s child, and decides to help her as well. His survival instinct kicks in, and he hallucinates his father telling him to pick himself up, forget the past, forgive people, and move on. In the excruciating pain that follows the ruckus, Anil decides to drag himself through all the damage around him and rescues himself and the child. Anil finally survived the ordeal, was able to locate the infant, and by daytime, both were rescued by the disaster management team. Anil is made aware of his mother’s demise and is taken aback by all the events that happened in the last 24 hours, and he goes to look for the child he saved.
“Malayankunju”’s climactic sequence is breathtaking, claustrophobic, and edge-of-the-seat stuff. Reminded of 124 hours, where the lead is in survival mode and is going to any extent to rescue himself from the situation that has engulfed him. A disaster such as this makes a person rethink their priorities. Anil, through the debris of his home, his life, and his surroundings, comes across epiphany after epiphany and realizes plenty of mistakes he made just by being himself. He hallucinates his father rescuing him from drowning and hears him say to let go of the past, forgive, forget, and move on. His father’s memories triggered plenty of unpleasant memories involving his sister. A disaster such as this makes him rethink his relationship with her. His father, as shown later in the film, dies by suicide because he cannot take the shame of his daughter eloping with another man.
Writer/Director turned cinematographer, Mahesh Narayanan, brings to light the inherent casteism that is prevalent in Kerala but somehow is never covered by many mainstream films. Caste-based ostracization is nothing new, and finally, Malayalam films are covering this topic. Two films, including “Malayankunju,” have gone ahead and brought up this topic and showcased why it is important to unlearn such practices. Mammootty’s starrer Puzhu also dealt with the subject of caste-based ostracization.
Anil, as the lead, is casteist by nature and hurls casteist slurs, which showcases his true nature and refuses to let go of this side of him while dealing with his sibling and his neighbors. He brings out a horrible side of himself in public and refuses to acknowledge his mistake. Unable to forgive his sister, his discriminatory nature gets in the way of his relationship with his neighbors, but a life-changing event such as the landslide changes his perception.
Anil loses his mother and his neighbors in this tragic incident. His sister and brother-in-law come by his side immediately to help him sort his life out. Anil’s change of behavior is his joining the path to move on. He decides to look for the infant he rescued, and it is implied Anil will be taking care of her.
For a debutant filmmaker, Sajimon Prabhakar has done a brilliant job of delivering a solid narrative. I’m looking forward to more films by Sajimon. Mahesh Narayanan has once again delivered a solid story and screenplay that is highly engaging, and his layered writing slowly opens the narrative aspect. The performances by everyone, including the leads, take the film forward. Fahadh Faasil, as usual, doesn’t disappoint, not even for a second. Mahesh Narayanan, for the first time behind the camera, delivers a splendid job, especially during the concluding 45 minutes. The camera work showcases the never-ending rains and disastrous landslides. It is claustrophobic and anxiety-inducing. “Malayankunju” is yet another feather in Fahadh Faasil’s cap. A must-watch
Malayalankunju is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video with subtitles.