Prathi Poovankozhi: Manju Warrier and Roshan Andrrews team up like never before

Roshan Andrrews had directed Manju Warrier in her comeback film How Old Are you? The film worked because it had Manju in the lead, and the audience’s yearning for her comeback to the industry. Five years later, Manju is hailed as Malayalam’s ‘Lady superstar’—and rightfully so. Manju Warrier has got enough star power to get people into theatres. Her name has become a requisite in big ticket films. The talented actor won over a whole new bunch of fans with her fierce and confident Tamil debut in Asuran. With Prathi Poovankozhi, Manju has teamed up with Andrews again.

Madhuri (Manju) is a salesgirl at a textile shop in Kottayam and she lives with her mother. Her routine involves going to the shop and occasionally taking up sewing jobs passed on to her by family friend Gopi (Alencier). Her best friend and colleague Rossamma (Anusree) is an incorrigible flirt but is totally loyal to Madhuri.

While Madhuri tackles daily struggles and a looming debt, she encounters something totally degrading. A man molests her in the bus and runs away. Unable to let go, Madhuri vows to beat up that guy. She finds out that he is a vendor at a local market and goes there to get even. She finds that her enemy, Antappan (Andrews), is a local thug and a dreaded ruffian. Though taken by surprise, Madhuri sticks to her resolve much to the astonishment of Rossamma. The sweeper in her store Sheeba (Grace Antony), who has some grouse against Antappan, feeds Madhuri’s vendetta. One day, she does manage to get close enough only to witness him being attacked by a pack of goons who leave him for dead. Madhuri saves his life because her revenge is still pending. But things get murkier with the entry of local Sub-Inspector (Saiju Kurup).

The film has a striking similarity with the story of Maheshinte Prathikaram, where the hero vows to avenge the man who beat him up in public. The plot takes a feminine turn here, though not so much as the director and writer had hoped for. The protagonist’s single-minded obsession starts to go overboard after a certain point.

It is Manju Warrier’s measured performance that makes her character convincing. The best thing about the film is Anusree. She plays the comic relief to great effect. Kudos to Andrews for using a female sidekick. Madhuri’s quest is supported by Rossamma despite being scared to death about the outcome. Anusree nails the role without missing a beat.

Of course, the surprise package is the director himself plays the lecherous and menacing Antappan and does it with style. He gives himself a lengthy action sequence in the first half and creates quite an impression. A word for Kurup who keeps getting better with each passing role. Sadly, he only had a small part here. There could have been more to his character just like the one played by Grace whose past is left unexplained.

Overall, this is a Manju show and she amply supported by Anusree. Prathi Poovankozhi offers a good time for the family and it does deliver a message of facing your opponent head-on—without fear.

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