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Manjummel Boys – Making their way into Telugu hearts

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Manjummel Boys distributed in Telugu by Mythri Movie Makers continues it’s success trail as more & more theatres are being added to meet the increasing demand for screenings

Two millions movie collections in North America & Manjummel Boys are taking over theatres in the two Telugu states as well. What does this Malayalam film made based on a true story working so well with the Telugu audience?

Here’s a peek into what makes the movie work by Padmaja Konisetti (expect a few spoilers)

Malayalam cinema seems to ace the survival thrillers. The latest in this genre is Manjummel Boys, that became a runaway hit in Mollywood. Surprisingly, it also found many takers among Telugu viewers both in the overseas and here. Dubbed into Telugu and released on April 6th, the film opened to positive reviews when Mythri Movie Makers bought the distribution rights.

Manjummel Boys

With a run-time of 135 minutes, Manjummel Boys is a story about 11 men from a village called Manjummel in Ernakulam district of Kerala going on a trip to Kodaikanal and things going wrong when one of them falls into a ravine.

Based on a true incident that happened in 2006, this survival thriller portrays friendship, courage, perseverance and hope in an engaging drama.

The film begins showing the ordinary lives of these 11 men who do odd jobs to earn a living, barge into a wedding uninvited, spar with a rival gang over a game of tug-of-war and their drinking soirees. They want to travel somewhere outside Kerala because their rival gang went on a trip and they do not want to be lagging behind. They zero in on the picturesque Kodaikanal in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. The boys explore the town, get pictures clicked and get ready to return to Kerala when one of them suggests that they need to see the famous Guna cave, where the popular film with the same title is filmed. Once at the cave, they trespass into the restricted area and suddenly Subash (Sreenath Bhasi) falls into a ravine. The shocked friends approach the local authorities for help and are met with their apathy initially. The authorities come around and offer their services albeit half-heartedly. The rest of the film is how the rescue operation follows and the success of it.

While the first half takes time to establish the character arcs of each person, the pace picks up once the boys arrive at Kodaikanal and keeps the audience invested in the story. While the rescue operation is on, scenes from their childhood capturing their fears, survival instincts and actions as children are weaved beautifully into the current crisis, given us a sense of what awaits them.

The hugely popular track “Priyathama Neevachata Kusalama” from Kamal Hassan starrer Guna is well utilised both in the title credits and at the crucial scene when Subash is pulled out of the ravine. At the latter scene, the audience in the theatre erupted in collective joy.

The film doesn’t end at its high point as typically shown in survival dramas. It also shows the aftermath of the incident – the cave being sealed for tourists, Subash’s post-traumatic stress disorder once they return to their hometown and Kuttan’s (Soubin Shahir) bravery being recognised by Subash’s mother and the entire world. Among the actors, Soubin Shahir and Sreenath Bhasi shine well.

This film is devoid of exaggeration and high moments that one expects in survival thrillers. No wonder, Telugu audience who warmed up to Malayalam cinema during lockdown times are flocking to theatres to watch this lesser-known real incident turned into an enthralling story on screen.