Marivillin Gopurangal Movie Review: A delectable mix of old-school and new-age filmmaking

Marivillin Gopurangal Movie Review: A delectable mix of old-school and new-age filmmaking

A few years back, there was a time when Malayalam cinema overdid this feel-good genre, but Arun seems to have cracked the fine line between being delicately sweet and going overly saccharine
Marivillin Gopurangal(3 / 5)

Marivillin Gopurangal is essentially about two couples and their contrasting approaches to love, life, and everything in between. Shinto (Indrajith Sukumaran) is an aspiring filmmaker, who currently writes scripts for a kids show, and his wife Sherin (Shruti Ramachandran) is an entrepreneur running a plant boutique. Despite societal pressure, the two prefer being career-oriented and attaining financial stability before planning for a baby. On the contrary, Shinto's brother Rony (Sarjano Khalid) and his free-spirited girlfriend Meenakshi, are pregnant out of wedlock. There's again societal pressure, but Meenakshi doesn't ascribe to the idea of marriage. Marivillin Gopurangal takes us on a year-long journey with these four people as they try to wade through life's uncertainties.

Director: Arun Bose

Cast: Indrajith Sukumaran, Shruti Ramachandran, Vincy Aloshious, Sarjano Khalid

This is not the first time director Arun Bose has attempted to tell a story about two contrasting couples. In his debut film, Luca (2019), though the primary focus was on the passionate Luca-Niharika relationship, he also explored a rather cold equation between a cop and his wife. In Marivillin Gopurangal though, there is hardly any room for gloominess. It's one of those low-stakes, all-is-well films that intends to spread some good old positive vibes. A few years back, there was a time when Malayalam cinema overdid this feel-good genre, but Arun seems to have cracked the fine line between being delicately sweet and going overly saccharine. 

Arun and his co-writer Pramod Mohan have carefully sketched all four characters, giving them distinct personalities, separate conflicts, and minor arcs. These characters seem to be leading a fancy life, but even then, there's an effort to stay grounded and focus on everyday problems. Shinto and Sherin, who initially seem to be in a hassle-free life, are concerned about their finances and future. Especially the latter, a supportive, but practical partner who doesn't outrightly back her husband's decision to quit his job and focus entirely on his dreams. It's a welcome change from the hyper-supportive wives and girlfriends we usually see in our films. But that said, the film does resort to some cliches like Meenakshi's abusive parents and broken childhood being the reason for her non-compliance with the idea of marriage. Rony's childhood trauma episode is slightly more effective, but wish it wasn't overcooked (pun intended), especially how he overcomes it like a 'man'. Besides the four lead characters, the film also has an interesting track between Shinto and his show's child actor, Neeraj (Vasisht Umesh). Though their ego clashes look silly initially, it comes together well in the end with the makers capturing the child's emotions beautifully.

The film succeeds in maintaining a balance of narrating a modern, relevant tale with some old-fashioned storytelling. For instance, we see the characters casually slipping into matching costumes and lip-syncing for duets—a dying art in Malayalam cinema today. It comes with a huge risk of coming across as outdated, but Arun's conviction and command over the craft ensures these frequently occurring songs gel well with the narrative. Throughout the film, there are also conscious attempts to overcome cliches, but they end up falling in some. Consider the backstory of how Rony and Meenakshi first met and fell in love. It's a typical 'timid guy falling for a brave tomboyish girl' story, but the makers manage to smartly dodge it by opting for animated visuals, saving time and melodrama. It is one of the many examples of marrying old-school ideas and new-age techniques effectively.

It is after a long gap that we get to see Indrajith in a full-length role portraying an array of emotions, and the actor seems to have enjoyed playing it. The only scene where his performance is unconvincing is when he breaks down and calls himself a failure. Maye, it's also because the scene is a bit too dramatic and not in sync with the overall mood of the film. Apart from that, Indrajith shares a mature and adorable chemistry with Shruti, another reliable performer. Though her character doesn't offer a lot of scope for performance, it is interesting how her bond with Meenakshi develops organically after an initial detachment. Among the four, it is Vincy who shines the brightest as she effortlessly handles comedy. The film doesn't have many forced comedy scenes, but her innocent responses and funny expressions are ample enough to elicit the laughs. It is hilarious how she goes on a rant during the delivery scene, lightening up what's supposed to be an extremely emotional moment. The actor played a similar role in Padmini (2023), but this time, she gets a better-written character here and it helps her performance.

In films like Marivillin Gopurangal, where the intention is to exude a sense of warmth, the makers tend to amp up the aesthetics and lend it the feel of a fancy advertisement film world. Cinematographer Syamaprakash MS follows a similar style, but thankfully, doesn't exaggerate it beyond a point. Vidyasagar also doesn't confine himself to the conventions of a feel-good film's music. He experiments by blending both classic music and contemporary sounds. In a nutshell, that's what the film is all about. It's a mix of mature fine wine in a fancy new bottle.

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