Madanolsavam review: Suraj Venjaramoodu and Babu Antony win the brownie points in this political satire

Sudheesh Gopinath's latest directorial venture is highly critical of political parties and leaders in the State of Kerala.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Aug 18, 2023

suraj venjaramoodu's Madanolsavam movie
Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval does a good job as scriptwriter!

Madanolsavam (Malayalam)

  • Cast: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Babu Antony, Rajesh Madhavan, PP Kunhikrishnan, Bhama Arun, and Swathi Das Prabhu
  • Director: Sudheesh Gopinath
  • Producer: Vinayaka Ajith
  • Music: Christo Xavier
  • Runtime: 2 hours 9 minutes

Until now, Madanolsavam is known to be a romantic story starring Kamal Hassan and Zarina Wahab that was released in 1978. But the brand-new movie with the same name has nothing to do with the old one and the similarity is only in the name.

Madanolsavam is an adaptation of the novel “Thankachan Manjakkaran” which was published around 15 years ago.

The main highlight of the film is Suraj Venjaramoodu’s return to a full-length comedy character as the quirky Madanan, who becomes an important character in the Kerala state Assembly elections.

Babu Antony also makes a strong comeback in the movie as an eccentric politician.

Political satire

Sudheesh Gopinath Madanolsavam poster

A poster of director Sudheesh Gopinath’s ‘Madanolsavam’. (Twitter)

The movie is set in a village in Kasaragod district in the northern part of Kerala, bordering Karnataka. Stories from this part of the state — which remain unexplored for several years — are now getting importance.

Films like Thinkalazcha Nischayam and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum were shot here and were well-received, too.

Set in the background of an election held in Kerala, Madanolsavam focuses on Madanan Manjakkaran — a right-wing politician — who aspires to win a seat in the State Assembly.

But then enters independent candidate Madanan Mallakkara who contested from the same constituency where Manjakkaran also contested.

This is a political game played by a rival party to split the votes of Madanan Manjakkaran played by veteran actor Babu Antony.

But the main victim of these dirty political games is Madanan Mallakkara (Suraj Venjaramoodu).

He is kidnapped by the Left party workers so that he won’t leak anything to prove his innocence (of contesting).

Madanan lives with his aunt and at a particular point, he also has to take care of his friend’s wife and daughter. He does odd jobs like colouring small chickens (chicken dyer) and selling them for livelihood.

Related: ‘Madanolsavam’ is the end of my wait for a full-length comedy script, says Suraj Venjaramoodu

Highly critical of political parties

The film is highly critical of the political parties, especially the right-wing and Left parties.

Scriptwriter Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval — who earlier directed Nna Thaan Case Kodu — adapts the novel well. It has all elements to be a political satire. The story mainly focuses on the life of a common man (Madanan Mallakkara).

Sudheesh Gopinath Madanolsavam movie

A poster of ‘Madanolsavam’. (Twitter)

Writing is the main highlight of the movie. Ratheesh tries to incorporate humour while telling a political satire. In his earlier films too, he used references to political parties in a satirical way.

Satire is at its peak in this film and real incidents that happened during the last Kerala Assembly elections get a mention here.

Instances similar to resort politics seen in Karnataka and Rajasthan are also mentioned.

The writer has also written about how political parties abandon people who help them during elections after they win the polls.

Interestingly, the scriptwriter plays the role of Nishad Purushan, an MLA who is responsible for the ill happenings related to Suraj’s character.

The scene where Chindan Elayappan (PP Kunhikrishnan) dies in an accident and how he suddenly becomes a martyr is a serious way of criticising the Left party in Kerala. It doesn’t look real but it feels like something purposefully written.

Also read: ‘Corona Papers’ is a technically sound film with some thrilling moments

Exploration of Northern Kerala

Madanolsavam malayalam film

A poster of ‘Madanolsavam’. (Twitter)

Director Sudeep Gopinath who hails from the Kasaradod district tries to utilise his turf.

Madanolsavam is the latest film to utilise the northern Kerala accent. Recently, Enkilum Chandrike and Pranaya Vilasam used the accent.

The cinematography by Shehnad Jalal has captured the beauty of a Kasargod village with the characters who speak the local language.

The use of local accents is becoming more common in recent Malayalam movies these days. It gives an identity to the movie and its plot, an aspect the filmmakers are now taking extra care of.

Also read: ‘Thiruvin Kural’ reflects the grim reality of our government hospitals

The performances

Ratheesh Poduval in Madanolsavam

Ratheesh Poduval in ‘Madanolsavam’. (Twitter)

Suraj Venjaramoodu returns with a full-length comedy role here. But his character has depth, unlike the caricature films he did earlier.

The character played by Babu Antony here is different, considering the fact that he mostly did action films in his initial days. Madanan Manjakkaran is an eccentric politician who strives to win a seat.

The frustrations and securities faced by Madanan are safe in the hands of Babu Antony. It’s definitely a welcome change for a veteran actor.

Rajesh Madhavan and Ranji Kankol as the Namboodiri brothers, Shankaran Namboothiri and Raghavan Namboothiri are good to watch. They did their part well.

Bhama Arun as Alice is a strong lady but with less screen presence.

PP Kunhikrishnan as Chindan Elayapan is good.

Also read: ‘Enthada Saji’ is an entertaining fantasy film

Final take

Madanolsavam is highly critical of political parties and their leaders who are ready to do extreme things to attain power.

The movie is a political satire with some solid performances by Suraj Venjaramoodu and Babu Antony.

(Views expressed are personal.)