His outstanding performance in Madhu Kaithapram's Ekantham (2007), which tackles the subject of old age issues, won the Special Jury Award and Special Mention in the recent National Film Awards. Now, veteran actor Thilakan appears yet again in a similar powerful role in debutant director Sohanlal's offbeat Orkkuka Vallapozhum. Although not a pure commercial film, it is an appreciable attempt to highlight one's sense of loss through the life and memories of 75-year-old Sethumadhavan (Thilakan). Film-lovers will surely appreciate Orkkuka Vallapozhum for its artistic value.
Produced by Vinu Y.S. under the banner of God's Own Movies, Orkkuka Vallappozhum begins with Sethumadhavan's journey to a hill station where he had spent his childhood and early years. His wife had died after giving birth to his only son, who is now settled in the US. Sethumadhavan is today all alone in a flat in the city. Knowing that his end is near, Sethumadhavan now wants to visit his old bungalow, where he had lived with his parents and childhood friends.
When Sethumadhavan reaches the hill station, he finds that their old bungalow is now owned by a person named Kashi. Surprisingly, he happens to meet a girl there called Devayani, a look-alike of Paru, with whom Sethumadhavan had a very romantic relationship in his youth. From there, his memories start travelling back to the good old days of his childhood and adolescence.
The main highlight of the film is Thilakan's excellent performance, which might have been even better under the direction of a more experienced director. Debutante Shilpa Bala, who plays Paru, is good, though her performance is weak in some sequences, which is excusable for a debutante. Jagadeesh as Kashi is his usual self. Rejith Menon is just average as young Sethumadhavan, while Vinu.Y.S. and Meera Vasudev, who play young Sethumadhavan's parents in the flashback sequences, have nothing much to perform or impress. Chali Pala appears in a meaty role as Paru's stepfather and singer-actor Krishnachandran appears in just a couple of scenes.
Award winning cameraman M.J. Radhakrishnan's excellent cinematography is another highlight of the film. The songs, penned by P. Bhaskaran-Gireesh Puthencherry team and music by M. Jayachandran, are hummable and also worthy of praise. Director Sohanlal, who is also the script-writer, tends to be excessively romantic in some places, which may not go along with today's tastes. However, he should be appreciated for putting extra efforts in blending the past and the present in a convincing, single frame. All in all, Orkkuka Vallappozhum, the first Malayalam release in 2009, is indeed an appreciable venture, but could have been even better. Let's hope the young director with an exceedingly promising first effort will come up with a better film next time!
Producer: Vinu Y.S.
Banner: God's Own Movies
Cast: Thilakan, Shilpa Bala, Jagadeesh, Rejith Menon, Krishnachandran, Meera Vasudev, Baby Malavika, Master Dhananjay, Chali Pala
Music director: M. Jayachandran
Lyricist: P. Bhaskaran and Gireesh Puthencherry
Cinematographer: M.J. Radhakrishnan