Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam review: LJP’s fantasy finds perfection in Mammootty

Instead of chaos, like that in his earlier films, Lijo Jose embraces love, tragedy, and limitless companionship among people.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Jan 19, 2023

Mammootty's 'Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam' is a comedy drama directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery. (mammukka/Twitter)
Mammootty's character will stay in minds!

Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam (Malayalam)

  • Cast: Mammootty, Ashokan, Remya Pandyan, Ashwanth Ashokkumar, and Pramod Shetty
  • Director: Lijo Jose Pellissery
  • Producers: Mammootty Kampany and Amen Movie Monastery
  • Runtime: 1 hour 49 minutes

Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam, the brand new movie by veteran actor Mammootty, surely will stay in the minds of cinema lovers for the way it has been made and for its content.

Lijo Jose Pellissery has carved a movie that is completely different from his earlier works.

The film had a pre-release hype as movie buffs wanted to see how the director would use the actor’s talent.

Mammootty created a good record at the box office last year with the majority of his films gaining critical appreciation.

As for Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam, it is about Sarathi Theatres, a drama troupe headed by James (Mammootty), that goes on a Velankanni trip.

After a nap, James turns out to be a completely different man named Sundaram from a remote village in Palani, Tamil Nadu.

What happens during their return to Kerala forms the crux of the movie.

Fantasy elements

Lijo Jose poetically depicts the problems faced by the drama troupe and the family of Sundaram, who has been missing for two years.

Sound plays an important role in the movie. Initially, the sound of a window pane of the tourist bus gives a sense that a change is about to happen in the story.

Later, at the end of the film, while Sundaram looks in the mirror, the audience feels another major change in the plot.

How James turns into Sundaram, how he gets back his original identity, and the incidents happening in between are what the film speaks about.

James is a miser and does not like Tamil culture. The sudden change from James to Sundaram by Mammootty is fantastic to watch on the big screen.

Many instances in the movie show his ability to depict multiple personalities.

His re-enactment of ace actor Shivaji Ganeshan’s role from an old Tamil movie in a local liquor shop makes for an amazing watch.

The scene before the interval, where Sundaram narrates his love for his land, is another moment of good acting by the method actor.

Pellissery adds a fantasy flavour to the movie, just like his previous films Amen, Ee Ma Yau, and Churuli.

But, in Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam, the fantasy element is evident through Mammootty’s acting, unlike the visible characters in the other aforementioned films.

Director’s U-turn

Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam is an exception, considering the other films by Pellissery, who is known for chaos in his projects.

This film lacks chaos and embraces love, tragedy, and limitless companionship among people.

As the movie progresses, the characters — both Keralites and Tamilians — form a great bond.

For the Tamil family in the movie, Sundaram is a loving person who goes missing.

His wife and close relatives are confused when Mammootty’s character behaves like Sundaram. They cannot blame him even though they know that it’s an illusion for James.

Mammooty is in full form as James and Sundaram. The actor’s choice of roles at this point in his career is quite interesting. He readily embraces challenging and different roles.

Remya Pandyan (as Sundaram’s wife), Poo Ramu, Ashokan, Vipin Atlee, and Rajesh Sharma do justice to their roles.

Tamil culture in Malayalam film

Since the story happens in Palani, most of the characters speak Tamil. The beauty of Palani is captured by Theni Eswar, who earlier worked with Mammootty in Peranbu.

mammootty Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam

Mammootty in a still from ‘Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam’. (mammukka/Twitter)

Many characters are captured in a single frame, especially in the liquor shop scene and the interval block, which is brilliant.

Even the frames gave a whole different look to the movie. A typical Tamil village is set up by the crew.

The movie even has songs from yesteryear Tamil films, providing a nostalgic ambience to the audience.

One may even wonder if they are watching a Tamil movie as there are more Tamil actors.

Subtitles for Malayalam audiences would have been a good idea by the makers in this case.

The movie, while portraying a fairytale-like story set in two different states, gives prominence to the cultures and this needs to be appreciated.

S Hareesh’s screenplay is pretty good. Lijo Jose needs to be appreciated for the story. Deepu S Joseph’s editing is great.


Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam is an exceptional movie that narrates the story of boundless love flavoured with fantasy and amazing acting by Mammootty.

It also has some fine moments of performances by most of the actors.