It took his debut film as a director, Thalappavu for the general Malayali audience to finally accept Madhupal as a serious film personality. Then he further cemented his position with his second film, Ozhimuri. He had finally shaken off his percieved image in the collective psyche of the Malayali film going crowd, that of a man with sinister intentions thanks to his acting debut decades back in the Suresh Gopi vehicle Kashmeeram. After a string of insignificant roles on the same lines as his debut, Madhupal finally found his silver lining and broke through with Thalappavu as a director. Both Thalappavu and Ozhimuri drew inspiration from historical and social events which had left scars in Kerala’s past and questioned our claims of progress and enlightenment. So it was only natural that Madhupal was as much the reason as the leading man Tovino why Oru Kuprasidha Payyan was one movie to look forward to.
Unlike his earlier films Oru Kuprasidha Payyan is almost entirely commercialised to cater to the needs of the box office and the persona of the rising star it’s leading man is. Author Jeevan Job Thomas turns screenwriter with this film and is again based on a real life incident. If a genre has to be named the film would definitely fit the description of a legal thriller though it unintentionally reminds the viewers of many recent movies namely Visaranai and Saira Banu. The writer and director have tried to explore how the enforcers of the law treat the individuals on the lowest rungs of our society. Tovino who is on a roll with consecutive hits has plenty of scenes to test his emoting skills. Madhupal has tried to infuse comedy though it’s short lived in the shape of Balu, who on the otherhand gets a chance to explore his serious side as an actor. The actor who takes the cake here is Nimisha Sajayan in a role that’s performed and has been written with equal brilliance. It’s not exactly the kind of character that we come across in Malayalm Cinema everyday and Nimisha has proven again that she is a talent to look out for. Her choice of films too speak of her approach to the art, I feel. Every story that’s told in a movie with commercial intentions needs an antagonist whose purpose is to act as the pole against which the viewer’s moral compass aligns and here that mantle has fallen on veteran actor Nedumudi Venu. Anu Sithara plays a character that’s a bit more than the regular romantic interest. Saranya is at home in the pivotal role she plays.
Oru Kuprasidha Payyan is not the most cinematically perfect movie by Madhupal and doesn’t compare artistically to his earlier works but it has succeeded in delivering some of the most realistic court scenes we have ever come across as viewers in Malayalam Cinema. The sequences would have made John Grisham proud. Jeevan Job Thomas’s scripting of the court proceedings and the detailing which reflects his scientific temperament is complemented by Madhupal’s visualisation. Veteran producer Sureshkumar turns actor here and maybe it’s a deliberate choice given the impact in terms of novelty the depiction of the judge character he plays has on the court scenes which almost entirely make up the second half of the movie. Oru Kuprasidha Payyan is ultimately the tale of an underdog who is betrayed intentionally by some and out of helplessness by others. Ironically it’s the judiciary who comes to his aid here when he almost loses himself in the penal system. In the movie hall when the lights go off almost all of us root for the underdog though it’s another question if we would do that out in the real world in the harsh light of the day.