Malini, a docile nurse, is forced to move into her boyfriend Varun's house, where she is raped — twice — by his boss, and also sent to prison on false charges. When she comes to know who the person behind her predicament is, she plans revenge.
A remake of the 2012-Malayalam film
22 Female Kottayam
Malini 22 Palayamkkottai
turns what was a post modern revenge film (with a somewhat dubious women's lib credo) into a dated and tedious affair. Even if director Sripriya had stuck close to the original, we would have got an engaging thriller, but here, bludgeons even the tiniest bit of subtlety found in the original to give us a clumsy film that attempts to form a social awakening while putting its viewers to sleep.
The film begins with Malini (a miscast Nithya Menen), a nurse at a private hospital, getting arrested for being in possession of drugs and her story until this point unfolds as flash back. We are introduced to her friends-cum-colleagues, one of whom, Jency (Anjali Rao), acts as a 'companion' for an older man, in whose mansion they stay together. Malini is befriended by Varun (Krish Sathar, impressive), who facilitates her visa to Canada, and the two soon become romantically involved. When Jency goes to Canada, Malini is forced to stay with Varun. One day, during Varun's absence, his boss Prakash (Naresh) enters their home and rapes her. Malini is shell-shocked while Varun is furious. As she limps back to normalcy, Prakash enters her life again, and rapes her again! And, worse, she is arrested for possession of drugs. Malini loses all hope but when she learns about the betrayal that has led her to this fate, she plans her revenge.
Malini 22 Palayamkkottai
is a very topical film, and it does have its heart in the right place but the problem with the film mostly lies with the direction, as Sripriya seems to lack a feel for the material. The filmmaking is tacky and at best TV serial-like. While this might not have felt out of place in an old-fashioned drama, here, it seems odd. Not only do the changes that she brings to this tale, in terms of characters and scenes (a needless fight inside the jail), add anything to the film, but they also feel frivolous. Take Kovai Sarala, who plays the heroine's colleague. She is loud, is needlessly made to blush before young men like the hero in the name of comedy and vanishes half way into the film! Even Jency is given a back story (she is the sole breadwinner for her large family) whereas in the original, was this character presented in a matter-of-fact way and we are never told why she does what she does. And, probably in an effort to make her heroine character more of a saint, the director does away with the character's admission of not being a virgin. It is a crucial point in the original because later in the film, when her character decides to do anything to get back at the persons responsible for her fate, we understand her readiness to compromise. It also underscored the point that she, a rape victim, has realized that it is her heart and not her body that needs to be pure.
Another let down is the climatic scene in which the heroine Malini, who has turned from docile nurse to avenging angel, tells Varun, her boyfriend-turned-betrayer that he cannot mess up her life any more. She tells him that she thought about his punishment as his mother and sister and decided it was right to do what she had to do. Nithya Menen utters this dialogue in such a manner that it turns what should have been a biting comment into a melodramatic one. They then trade a few expletives (which are sensibly not muted) that should have been punches in the gut but what they really seem like is adolescents showing off their knowledge of cuss words. Which brings us to the question how did this film, which features rape, pre-marital sex, and the F-word (even if relevant to the story) manage to get a 'U' certificate, when, in the same week, we have another film (
), dealing with adultery, that is rated 'A'?