The simple people of the eponymous village of Mariyam Mukku are really excited. Strange things have started happening in the village. Miraculous things. A local drunkard and trouble maker sees the statue of the Virgin Mary rise from the ocean, and becomes a better man as a result. An old bed-ridden woman who sees the Virgin Mary outside her window one night soon finds herself able to walk again. News of the miracle travels far and wide bringing a lot of True Believers, and their money to the village. What’s going on?

Intrigued? Well, you’ll have to sit through the first half to get to it. To the film’s credit though, it’s never boring. The characters are colorful enough to keep our interest and Fahadh Fasil along with Manoj K. Jayan and the other supporting actors are a lot of fun to watch. It almost seems like a throwback to old malayalam films as far as the story and characters are concerned. Orphaned hero taken up by the local rich strongman who keeps the whole village under his thumb. A childhood friend who returns after a long time to be the hero’s love interest. The love interest who softens the hero’s rock hard heart. Mind you, none of this is ever boring. In fact, it’s nice to have films like these every once in a while.

James Albert’s directorial debut is a good one. I’m definitely looking forward to what he does next. Had it been shorter and more streamlined it may have been a better comedy. Had it been an all out musical like Amen, it may have been a great movie. Had it been more of a satire, it could have been our answer to PK. Had it been more of a throwback to old malayalam cinema, it could have been… well, you get the idea. It’s all of these and none of these. It’s just one more movie hampered by the conventions of our film industry.

Mariyam Mukku is a well-made movie. Everyone does their part right. The soundtrack is decent, the acting is good, the screenplay suits the story, and the setting looks beautiful. It’s a perfectly serviceable movie, and therein lies the difficulty in writing about it. Ultimately nothing stands out. Another moment passes and another scene fades from memory. Everything fades until that one catchy song remains. I prefer a movie like Picket 43 that shoots for the stars and misses over a movie like this that’s good but plays everything completely safe.

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