Kalabhavan Mani's Aayirathil Oruvan, a family entertainer directed by veteran Sibi Malayil, was made in 2001 but was not released during the last eight years. Thanks to the director's efforts, the film has been recently released and earned plenty of good reviews for Kalabhavan Mani's brilliant performance and impressive script written by T.A. Razak. (Though the film was in cold storage for a long time, it bagged a Kerala State Award for Best Story in 2002.)
Ayirathil Oruvan revolves around Anirudhan (Kalabhavan Mani), a ration shop dealer who fends for his family of sisters and mother, Padmavathy (K.P.A.C. Lalitha). In the midst of financial liabilities, Anirudhan finds it very difficult to marry off his younger sister. To find sources for his sister's dowry, he agrees to marry Saraswathy (Suchitha), planning that the dowry she brings will provide the dowry for his sister. Unfortunately, his plans go awry when he finds that his wife's ornaments are spurious. Padmavathy feels cheated and begins to despise Saraswathy. At this point, Aravindan is forced to take a loan from a local financier Viswambharan (Shammi Thilakan), who recovers his debts by any means. Aravindan's struggles to repay the loan form the rest of the story.
Ayirathil Oruvan is a combination of great performances and a solid script. A sentimental feel-good family entertainer with superb performances by Kalabavan Mani and heroine Sujatha, the film brilliantly conveys the devastating effects of dowry, debt and desolation. Kalabhavan Mani excels as Anirudhan, while Sujitha is a perfect foil as his wife. K.P.A.C. Lalitha has also given a matching performance. Thilakan, Sudheesh and Oduvil Unnikrishnan also have some notable and meaningful roles.
Though the songs, penned by Yousuali Kecheri and set to tune by Mohan Sithara, are average, Aayirathil Oruvan by K.J. Yesudas is appealing. Cinematographer Venugopalan is worth praising for his interesting visual support throughout the film. Aayirathil Oruvan is produced by veteran Siyad Koker under the banner of Kokers Films. All in all, Sibi Malayil's Aayirathil Oruvan is among the most realistic recent Malayalam films.
Banner: Kokers Films
Producer: Siyad Koker
Cast: Kalabhavan Mani, Suchitha, K.P.A.C. Lalitha, Thilakan, Sudheesh, Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Salim Kumar, Janardhanan and Senthil.
Direction: Sibi Malayil
Script: T.A. Razak
Music: Mohan Sithara
Lyrics: Yousuali Kecheri