Language : Malayalam
Director : Madhu Wariar
Writers : Pramod Mohan
Cast : Biju Menon, Manju Warrier, Anu Mohan, Saiju Kurup, Sudheesh, Deepti Sati, and Raghunath Paleri
Genre : Drama
Streaming on Disney + Hotstar
Lalitham Sundaram, the debut directorial of Madhu Wariar, is aptly titled, as it’s exactly what the film is, Simple and Beautiful. With a narrative that has flavours of Kapoor and Sons, Lalitham Sundaram manages to be a light-hearted relationship drama that doesn’t go overboard with its sentiments.
The film tells the story of 3 siblings, with varying equations, and how they resolve their interpersonal conflict during a one-week period when they meet up for their mother’s death anniversary. As mentioned, the movie has its fair share of resemblance with the 2016 Bollywood drama. But while Kapoor and Sons had irreparable family conflicts and intense emotions at its core, Lalitham Sundaram is happy to keep the squabbles uncomplicated and straightforward.
The screenplay by Pramod Mohan manages to create some absorbing emotionally charged moments along with a few memorable characters. He places these bits organically within the narrative, while also keeping them closer to the realistic zone. However, the rest of the film that plays out in between the high points isn’t really refreshing as the events follow a predictable template. While the outburst sequences grab our attention, the remaining portions have us only passively invested. Additionally, you get a feeling that the rift between the siblings is killed off too soon in an attempt to keep its feel-goodness intact.
Madhu Wariar does a decent job in his first outing as a director. He’s got a good hold over the serious bits but falters while handling the weakly written lighter portions. The music from Bijibal is ordinary with none of the songs making an impact. The cinematography by P Sukumar and Gautham Shankar is appealing and keeps the film lively.
The cast has done a commendable job. Biju Menon gets a meaty character that goes through a multitude of emotions and he puts up a good show. Manju Warrier’s character doesn’t have too much scope in terms of performance and her styling looked off. Anu Mohan was fine as the younger brother. Raghunath Paleri as the father was an inventive choice for the role as a fresh face brought a difference to an otherwise regular character. Saiju Kurup and Sudheesh make an impact with their performances. Both of them have given their best and Sudheesh seems to be upping his game with every passing film.
Overall, Lalitham Sundaram, despite its shortcomings, nicely fits the bill of a neat feel-good family entertainer where the emotions compensate for the lack of inventiveness of the script.
Verdict – 4/7 stars
Manju Warrier’s first film as producer.
Madhu Wariar’s film as director. Sibling power behind the film as well.