Mayaanadhi (2017) by Aashiq Abu

A multifaceted romantic thriller that paints a realistic and poetic tale of love among urban Malayalee youth.

A major portion of romantic films releasing in India consists of a first half in which the hero is wooing the heroine against all her attempts to get rid of him until he succeeds and a second half in which the two lovers have to face the odds created by the family and society till they are happily married. Similarly, there are a few more situations that recurrently appear in such films, for example, a hero or heroine diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. But once a while there will be a few films which take a different path and stays memorable. But even these films, mostly cater to the popular conservative and misplaced moral mindsets, especially in Malayalam cinema. Classic films like Padmarajan's "Thoovanathumbikal" ("Dragonflies in the Spraying Rain") took some very forward approach to romantic films in Malayalam film industry, yet on further scrutiny, we can see that there are still traces of the patriarchy of the society that make it easier for the society to accept these signs of progress. So with each film exploring such subjects, the society is being shaped to take a further step in progress or it is hoped to be.

After a botched money laundering deal, Mathan (Tovino Thomas) narrowly escapes from Tamil Nadu Police to Kochi, Kerala where he hopes to exchange the foreign currency and flee to Dubai after reconciling with his college sweetheart Appu/Aparna (Aishwarya Lekshmi). Meanwhile, Appu an aspiring actress who works in a BPO company and also works as MC for weddings to make ends meet in her home is unsure about Mathan's reentry into her life. Although at first, she keeps her distance from Mathan eventually they come close again. At the same time, Tamil Nadu police are secretly investigating and closing in on Mathan for in his escape a Police Officer is dead. Mathan, who suspects the same tries to convince Appu to come along with him to Dubai.

Aashiq Abu is known for including strong female characters in his films like "22 Female Kottayam", "Rani Padmini" etc. Similarly, Appu is a fleshed out character who is not a one-dimensional heroine that can be found in most Indian films. Appu's decisions at each point of the film are uncommon for such a character to make in Malayalam films. Though she is aware of the trappings of the society she is a fighter who is not ready to succumb to the patriarchal societies' biddings at every turn. At the same time, Mathan who have been living on his own from a young age is a man-child who dreams of a luxury life. The characteristics of the lead pair are a reversal of the gender stereotyping usually followed in the industry.

Several dialogues in the film that would feel to be a natural part of the film to someone outside this society are some stern political statements against the regressive patriarchal society. When subjects like sex are explored, the industry has a history of male superiority and misogyny. The women always fail if they are involved in sexual activities in Malayalam films. They are either indecent or no more able to be independent. This was the exact subject in Aashiq Abu's "22 Female Kottayam". Here the same has been explored a little without deviating from the core of the film yet proving to be powerful nonetheless.

Even the subplot in which the Tamil Nadu police investigates Mathan, the gender dynamics and romance plays an important part in the three Police officers characters and their decisions. Even though those characters aren't completely explored, each step they take gave an impression on how well written these characters are. The character of Sameera (Leona Lishoy) the actress friend of Appu is supposed to be an eye opener in various forms of social problems, yet by casting Soubin Shahir who have predominantly done comedic roles as her brother, the impact of certain scenes were quite the opposite than intended.

The way the relationship between Mathan and Appu unfolds is not something that is seen a lot in Malayalam cinema, although similar real-life stories can be seen all around in the society. For a film that focuses on such intense romance and a crime subplot, there are a lot of moments that are outright hilarious in a very realistic way. The writer duo Syam Pushkaran (who was also involved in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum) and Dileesh Nayar have done a fantastic job in creating some of the most relatable romantic sequences for the youngsters rather than the usual fantasies of the teenagers shown in such films. The story is based on a real-life incident, they read in a newspaper and also influenced by Jean-Luc Godard's French classic Breathless.

After her recent debut in a minor role in "Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela" Aishwarya Lekshmi shines as Appu. Aishwarya has captured the essence of the character through the moments of romance, the indifference and hiding the emotions in a natural way. Tovino Thomas had a phenomenal year with a number of commercially successful films turning him into a commercially viable star. He gave a convincing performance as a man-child who is head over heels about Appu.

The nights of Kochi have never been so beautiful in any other films before. Jayesh Mohan's cinematography captures the beauty and pathos of the lives of the protagonists juxtaposed through the backgrounds. The walks along the roads under the Kochi metro are hypnotically romantic. Editing by Saiju Sreedharan is also commendable. The transition between the romantic portions and the Police investigation never feels out of the place. The flow of the narrative is never lost in the tonal shift. Music by Rex Vijayan is another highlight of the film, which is perfectly synchronized with the mood of the film that also haunts the viewers after the film. Especially the song "Mizhiyil Ninnum" sung by Shahabaz Aman will conquer those who have a romantic heart.

"Mayaanadhi" ("Mystic River") is a multifaceted romantic thriller that paints a realistic and poetic tale of love among urban Malayalee youth. Even when the survivor in Mathan fades the fighter in Appu remains fighting and hoping. The viewers are left with melancholy, ever haunted by the fates of characters from this world which is surreal and hyper-real at the same time.



13 Assassins,1,13: Game of Death,1,1428,1,2012,1,2015,1,2016,2,2017,16,2018,1,2046,1,2LDK,1,3-Iron,1,36th Chamber Of Shaolin,1,500M800M,1,A Better Tomorrow 2018,1,A Bittersweet Life,1,A Bride for Rip Van Winkle,1,A Company Man,1,A Day,2,A Death in the Gunj,1,A Dirty Carnival,1,A Feeling Greater Than Love,1,A few words about us,1,A Girl at my Door,1,A Letter to the President,3,A Lonely Cow Weeps at Dawm,1,A Love,1,A Man of Integrity,1,A Man Vanishes,1,A Quiet Dream,1,A Simple Life,2,A Single Rider,1,A Special Lady,1,A Stone from Another Mountain to Polish Your Own Stone. Go Shibata,1,A Suitable Girl,1,A Tale of Love,1,A Taxi Driver,1,A tiger in winter,1,A Whale of a Tale,1,A Woman Wavering In The Rain,1,Aamir,1,Aashiq Abu,1,Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,1,Abdullah Mohammad Saad,3,Abhishek Chaubey,1,About Elly,1,Above the Clouds,1,Adam J. 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Lee Sang-il,1,Rahul Jain,1,Railway Sleepers,1,Rainy Dog,1,Raja Mukhriz,1,Rajkumar Gupta,1,Ram,1,Ram Gopal Varma,1,Randy Mckenzie,4,Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead,1,Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead 2,1,Ravine of Goodbye,1,Re:Born,1,Real,1,Realism,1,Red Beard,1,Red Persimmons,1,Reipu zonbi: Lust of the dead 3,1,Resistance at Tule Lake,1,Respeto,2,Resurrection,1,Revenge: A love story,1,Review,6,Reviews,277,Reviews.,2,Reviews. Panos Kotzathanasis,1,Riri Riza,3,Ritwik Ghatak,2,River of Exploding Durians,2,River's Edge,2,Robin Weng,1,Roger Lee,2,Roman Porno,1,Ronja,1,Rouge,1,Roya Sadat,2,Running on Karma,1,Russia,1,RV: Resurrected Victims,1,Ryoo Seung-wan,1,Ryota Sakamaki,1,Ryuki,1,Ryutaro Ninomiya,2,S. Korea,71,S.Korea,2,Saayak Santra,9,Sabrina Baracetti,1,Sabu,3,Salaam Bombay,1,Samui Song,1,San Diego Asian Film Festival,13,San Diego Film Festival,1,Sanjay Leela Bhansali,2,Sanjeewa Pushpakumara,2,Sankha Ray,29,Sarita Khurana,1,Satan's Slaves,3,Satoru Hirohara,1,Satoshi Kon,3,Satya,1,Satyajit Ray,1,Say Yes,1,Sayandeep Bandyopadhyay,6,Scarlet Heart,1,Score,1,Seijun Suzuki,3,Sekigahara,1,Serga Mathang,1,Sexy S.W.A.T. Team,1,Sha Po Lang,1,Shake Rattle and Roll,1,Shakti Sounder Rajan,1,Shanjhey Kumar Perumal,1,Shanker Raman,1,Shaw Brothers,2,She Remembers He Forgets,2,She's the Boss,1,Shehjar,1,Shiboprosad Mukherjee,1,Shift,2,Shigeru Umebayashi,1,Shikhar Verma,11,Shikhar Verna,3,Shinichi Fukazawa,1,Shinji Somai,2,Shinji Sômai,1,Shinjuku Swan,1,shinjuku Swan II,1,Shinjuku Triad Society,1,Shinobi no Kuni,2,Shinsuke Ogawa,1,Shinsuke Sato,2,Shinya Tsukamoto,4,Shireen Seno,2,Shirley Abraham,1,Shock Wave,1,Shôhei Imamura,1,Shoot for the Contents,1,Shorts,4,Shotaro Kobayashi,1,Shu Qi,1,Shunji Iwai,2,Shutter,1,Shuttle Life,2,Shyam Ramsay,1,Siddiq Ahamed,1,Sidharth Bharathan,1,Signature,1,Silent Mist,1,Silver Spleen,2,Singapore,2,Singh Anand,1,Singing Chen,1,Sinophone,1,Sion Sono,10,Siti,1,Sixth Sense Hooker,1,Slavemen,1,Sleep Curse,1,Small Talk,2,Smriti Mundhra,1,Sogo Ishii,2,Solanin,1,Solitude,1,Solo,1,Someone To Talk To,1,Sompot Chidgasompongse,2,Song Hae-sung,1,Song Kang-ho,1,Song of the Week,22,Sopawan Boonnimitra,1,Sopon Sakdapisit,1,Soul,1,Soul Mate,1,SoulMate,2,South Korea,20,Sri Lanka,3,Srijit Mukherji,7,Stammering Ballad,1,Stanley Kwan,1,Stanley Tong,1,Steel Rain,1,Stephen Chow,1,Stephen Fung,2,Steve James,1,Still the Water,1,Stoneman Murders,1,Story in Taipei,1,Strange Circus,1,Studio Ghibli,1,StudioCanal,4,Subenja Pongkorn,2,Suffering of Ninko,2,Sugihara Survivors: Jewish and Japanese,1,Suicide Club,1,Suman Mukhopadhay,1,Summer Snow,1,Sun-ho Cho,1,Sunao Katabuchi,3,Sunday Beauty Queen,1,Sung-hong Kim,1,Sunk Into the Womb,1,Susumu Hirasawa,1,Sweating the Small Stuff,2,Tadashi Nagayama,1,Tae Guk Gi,1,Tag,1,Taiwan,26,Takaaki Hashiguchi,1,Takahide Hori,1,Takahiro Miko,1,Takahisa Zeze,1,Takao Nakano,1,Takaomi Ogata,4,Takashi Miike,10,Take Care of My Cat,1,Takeo Kikuchi,2,Takeshi Kaneshiro,1,Takeshi Kitano,1,Takuro Nakamura,2,Talop Wangchuk,1,Tamil,4,Tamura Senichi,1,Tang Seng Kiat,2,Tanit Jitnukul,1,Tanvir Ashraf,2,Taste of Rice Flower,2,Tatara Samurai,1,Tatsuhi Omori,1,Tatsumi,1,Tatsumi Kumashiro,1,Teddy Soeriaatmadja,1,Teenkahon,1,Teppei Nakamura,1,Tetsuo the Iron Man,1,Tetsuya Mariko,1,Tetsuya Nakashima,1,Thailand,20,Thanatos Drunk,1,That's It,1,The Adventurers,2,The Apology,1,The Bad,1,The Blue Redemption,1,The Boy and the Beast,3,The boy from Ipanema,1,The Brink,1,The Chase,1,The Cinema Travellers,1,The Crawler in the Attic,1,The Crazy Family,1,The Day After,1,The Detective,1,The Discloser,1,The Dollhouse,1,The elephant and the sea,2,The Executioner,1,The Eye's Dream,1,The Forsaken Land,1,The Fortress,1,The Gangster's Daughter,1,The Girl Who Never Knew War,1,The Golden Fortress,1,The Good,1,The Great Buddha+,1,The Great Passage,1,The Hole,1,The Hungry Lion,1,The Inugami Family,1,The Iron Ministry,1,The Island That All Flow By,1,The Isthmus,1,The Kid from the Big Apple,1,The King of Pigs,1,The Last Executioner,1,The Last Painting,1,The Long Excuse,1,The Looming Storm,1,The Lowlife,1,The Magic Blade,1,The Man Without a Map,1,The Mayor,1,The Merciless,2,The Mermaid,1,The Muse,1,The Naked Island,1,The Net,1,The Night of the Earthquake,1,The Outlaws,1,The Prison,1,The Promise,1,The Raid,1,The Raid 2,1,The recipe,1,The Road Home,1,The Road to Mandalay,1,the Robber's Daughter,1,The Room,1,The Sacrament,1,The Salesman,1,The Seen and Unseen,1,The Sleep Curse,1,The Sower,2,The Story of the Disappearance of Maryam,1,The Strange Saga of Hiroshi the Freeloading Sex Machine,1,The Swindlers,1,The Table,1,The Third Murder,1,The Thousand Faces of Dunjia,1,The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale,1,The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue,1,The Tooth and the Nail,1,The Truth Beneath,1,The Vanished,1,The Villainess,3,The Violin Player,1,The Way We Are,1,The Weird,1,The Windmill Palm Grove,1,Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru,1,Third WIndow,1,This Is Not What I Expected,1,This Is Not What I Expected!,1,Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum,1,Three Sisters,1,Three Times,1,Tiffany Hsiung,1,Tik Tik Tik,1,Tôkaidô Yotsuya kaidan,1,Tokyo Ghoul,1,Tokyo Heaven,1,Tokyo Idols,1,Tokyo Vampire Hotel,1,Tolerance Film Festival,1,Tom Waller,2,Tony Leung,1,Tony Takitani,1,Torico,2,Toronto International Film Festival,1,Toshiaki Toyoda,2,Toshihisa Yokoshima,3,Toshimasha Kobayashi,1,Toshio Matsumoto,1,Toshiya Fujita,1,Town in a Lake,1,Traces of Sin,1,Trailers,80,Train to Busan,1,Tran Ham,1,Translated articles,1,Trapped,1,Travellers and Magicians,1,Treb Monteras II,2,Trinh T. Minh-Ha,3,Triple Threat,1,Tsai Ming-liang,2,Tulsi Ramsay,1,Twenty Two,1,Twilight Dinner,1,Twitch: You Are My Toy,1,Typhoon Club,1,Um Tae-hwa,1,Unbowed,1,V.I.P.,1,Vagabond,1,Vampire Cleanup Department,2,Vanishing Time A Boy Who Returned,1,Vannaphone Sitthirath,1,various,1,Varnyathil Aashanka,1,Verena Paravel,1,Vesoul International Film Festival,20,Vidya Balan,1,Vietnam,5,Vikramaditya Motwane,1,Vimukthi Jayasundara,1,Vinay Shukla,1,Vincent Kok,1,Violated Angels,1,Visitor Q,1,Vital,1,Vitaly Mansky,1,Vivien Qu,1,Voyage to Terengganu,1,Wai Ka-fai,1,Walk on Girl,1,Wang Bing,3,Wang Chao,2,Wang Lung-wei,1,Wang Ming-tai,1,Warriors of the Dawn,2,Weeds on Fire,1,Wei-Hao Cheng,1,Wellgo USA,2,West North West,2,What A Wonderful Family 2,1,What Time Is It There?,1,Whispering Corridors,1,Whispering Star,1,White Sun,1,Who Killed Cock Robin,1,Whore Angel,1,Wilson Yip,1,Wiman Rizkidarajat,1,Wine War,1,Winter Vacation,1,With Prisoners,1,Without Memory,1,Wol-Ha: Very Bad Moon Rising,1,Woman of the Lake,1,Won Shin-Yeon,1,Wong Chun,3,Wong Jing,2,Wong Kar-wai,2,Woo Ming Jin,1,Xaisongkham Induangchanthy,1,Xu Bing,1,Ya-che Yang,1,Yamato (California),4,Yan Pak Wing,2,Yang Chao,2,Yang Ik-june,1,Yang Jong-hyeon,1,Yang Woo-seok,1,Yao Tian,1,Yeon Sang-ho,2,Yes Madam,1,Yeti Obhijaan,2,Yin Liang,1,Yiu-wai Chu,1,Yoji Yamada,1,Yoo Ha,1,Yoon-chul chung,1,Yoonsuk Jung,1,Yosep Anggi Noen,1,Yoshihiro Hanno,1,Yoshihiro Nakamura,2,Yoshihiro Nishimura,3,Yoshimasa Jimbo,1,Yoshinari Nishikori,1,Yoshishige Yoshida,1,Yoshitaka Mori,1,Yoshiyuki Kishi,1,Yosuke Takeuchi,2,Yotsuya kaidan,1,You Losers!,1,Your Name,1,Youth,1,Yu Aoi,2,Yu Irie,1,Yu Sang-wook,1,Yuen Chor,1,Yuen Woo-ping,1,Yuji Shimomura,1,Yûji Tajiri,2,Yujiro Harumoto,2,Yuki Tanada,1,Yukihiko Tsutsumi,2,Yukuhiro Morigaki,2,Yusaku Matsumoto,2,Yutaka Ikejima,3,Yutaro Nakamura,1,Yuya Ishii,2,Zakka Films,2,Zhang Lu,1,Zhang Nan,1,Zhang Yimou,1,Zig Dulay,1,Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight,1,Zuri Rinpoche. Bhutan. Five Flavours,1,
Asian Film Vault: Mayaanadhi (2017) by Aashiq Abu
Mayaanadhi (2017) by Aashiq Abu
A multifaceted romantic thriller that paints a realistic and poetic tale of love among urban Malayalee youth.
Asian Film Vault
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