After quite some time with teleserials, director Suresh Unnithan' is back to take a closer look at passionate human relationships in his latest 'Ayaal' . Set in the late 1950's at Kuttanad, the movie tracks the life of an undisciplined and unmanageable man who has no inhibitions in receiving love and affection from anyone who offers him. 'Ayal' also examines the concepts of love, lust and associated morals in a different level .
With serpentine worship as its background, the movie has Lal as Gurudasan, the most famous singer of Pulluvan pattu (Songs for snake worship) of the area. With an ascribed divinity for his deeds and rituals, Gurudasan is unchallenged in his community. Though living with two wives Janaki (Lakshmi Sharma) and Chakkara (Iniya), who are also sisters, Dasan is a man who cannot be bind by society's dogma's about love, family and home as he continues to thrive in looking for newer avenues to share passionate relations. The only person with whom he share a big bonding is Anandhu, his son (Master Anjaneyan) .
The leading landlords of the village ,Pravarthiyar family, decides to hold an important ritual so as to please the snake gods and get a child out of his wife Devaki Antharajanam(Lena). Dasan is selected for the act, and for that he has to undergo some strict sacraments. But Devaki develops a liking for Dasan which results in some unprecedented events that starts to shatter him.
Scripted by Dr K Ambady 'Ayal' is embellished with a lot of traditional ritualistic art forms from kuthiyottapattu to Nagapattu, local beliefs and traditional norms. The movie and its narrative starts of in a different note from the regular scripting styles and falls to place in ten minutes with the colourful presentations of nagapattu. The dialogues are very impressive though the languages and slang are not that much taken care of. Lal and Lekshmy sharma are splendid in their Pananpattu sequences and lend a lots of believability here. But the movie starts to wither as it holds nothing more than physical relations of the protagonist . Though the three women in his life stands for different kind of emotions - duty bound devotion, lust and possessiveness, and spiritual love, it is not that convincingly expressed. Moreover, the pacing of the stuff and the unfolding of events are really slow for the new generation viewers. The finale also comes up in the unexpected minute, with the viewer's asking for more.
Anyhow, the highlights of the movie are the awesome visuals of Kuttanad by cinematographer Sujith Vasudev supported by the art director Boban. The bold and sensuous scenes are shot charmingly and aesthetically. The BG scores filled with 'folk'ish interludes by Mohan Sithara are fine while the songs set by Somasekharan Unnithan, Mohan Sithara, and M G Anil are classy stuff with 'Manasijan' and Kannathali' -our pick among the six melodies.
The performances in the movie are uniformly good. Lal though appear a miscast for his age and appearance, but lend believability with his performances. The regular muffled voice hampers his effective dubbing, as usual. Lekshmy Sharma , and Iniya are appropriate in their roles while Lena comes up in a bold avatar playing the complex role of an open minded lady .
All in all , this 'Ayal' may not be a film for everyone. Shot in a classy mood and verve, this movie may be appreciated by a selected few who would like to peel of layers and discover the implicit features of the complex narrative.
Rating - 6/10