A slice of life seen through innocent eyes

Manjadikuru
Malayalam (U)
Cast: Prithviraj, Urvashi,
Murali, Vyjayanti, Thilakan, Kaviyoor Ponnamma,
Rahman
Director: Anjali Menon

Through the eyes of a 10-year-old, Manjadikuru takes you back to your childhood days filled with innocence, mischief, fears and confusion.

An absolutely nostalgic rendering of life in a typical Kerala ancestral home, debutant director Anjali Menon leaves no stone unturned as she explores elements of hypocrisy, love, sympathy and sorrow inside a large Nair family.

Vicky comes back from the Gulf to his mother’s (Urvashi) home to attend his grandfather’s funeral. Here, he is saddened by the inhuman treatment meted out to Roja (Vyjayanti), the Tamilian servant girl who wishes to be free like any other child of her age. He, along with his cousins Kannan and Manikutty, decides to try and help her get out of her miserable life.

Oblivious of the demise of their grandfather, they play around like birds out of a cage. The children are inquisitive of everything around them and Vicky learns new lessons that remain etched in his mind.

They mistake tadpoles for fish, learn to swim and climb trees, to share and love one another as they watch their family scatter like the manjadikuru (little red seeds) falling from a tree. The children watch the lives of their aunts and uncles closely and they learn more about them than what their little minds can comprehend.

It is the attention to detail that makes this movie unforgettable. The typical arrogance of a ‘Gulf’ Malayali who tries to protect her son from the “filthy” kids in the village, old womenfolk gossiping softly after a death in the family, the ‘Manglish’ conversations of the daughter from America who complains about Kerala weather... are all portrayed beautifully. Although the cast is huge, each person has a memorable role.

Prithviraj’s narration and Vyjayanti’s acting merit special mention.
The movie deservingly bagged five grand Jury Awards at the South Asian International Film Festival in New York and undoubtedly, this one stands out.

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