Biju Menon stars in Aadya Rathri as a marriage broker who does not believe in romance
Gold, money or the arrangements aren't the most important thing in a marriage; it is consent, conveys the film
It's 2019, and yes, unfortunately, we still need to educate people on the importance of having the 'girl's consent' before her nuptials to an absolute stranger. While critics and moviegoers alike are calling this year a 'golden one' for Malayalam cinema, with indie releases such as Kumblangi Nights and Uyare, that touches on the theme of female empowerment, actor Biju Menon's latest Aadya Rathri delves into the importance of a girl's consent in a marriage.
While Kerala's leadership wants to usher in a technologically- advanced 'Nava Keralam' or new Kerala, we are being told by the movie director Jibu Jacob that, unfortunately, marrying a girl off without her consent is still prevalent in the southern Indian state.
'What will people say?'
"Many marriages in Kerala still take place without the girl's consent," says Jacob. "It's mostly social pressure. Families are still worried about 'what society will say'. Caste is still a problem, language is another issue, religion, colour, creed, but social pressure and judgement from society top the list of reasons why we are witnessing so many problems in marriages. Kids are eloping to get married, there are divorces, you name it," Jacob tells City Times.
Biju Menon takes on a comic role as a 'family man' in director Jibu Jacob's latest venture Aadya Rathri, a family-friendly comedy also starring Aju Varghese in a lead role. The movie stars a bevvy of new faces including Anaswara Rajan and Sarjano Khalid. Other actors include Pauly Valsamma, Vijayaraghavan, and Manoj Guinness.
City Times caught up with the director, and some of the leading names in the movie ahead of its UAE release today. The film opened to rave reviews in Kerala with critics calling it a 'full-time entertainer.'
Manoharan, played by Biju Menon, is the last word for the sleepy hamlet of Mullakkara. A marriage broker who has been finding an ideal match for youth in his village for 22 years, Manoharan hates romance. From the movie's trailer, you can see young lovers skedaddling into the shadows as Manoharan, a sworn bachelor, enters the scene.
'It's a family movie'
Director Jacob says, "It's a family movie. I wanted to make another movie with Biju Menon, and when the writers told us about the movie, a character sketch of Manoharan was discussed. The rest of the script was created around this character."
Jacob's other works include Vellimoonga and Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol. He added, "Once the rest of the script was ready, we spoke to Biju Menon, who liked the movie as well. He plays the role of a marriage broker in a small village. He hates the idea of romance."
However, the movie touches on the importance of consent. "It is a socially - aware movie with a huge family and humour element. It is doing very well in Kerala. There are many young faces in the movie who are a new generation of extremely dedicated and hard-working actors."
For well-known mimicry artist Manoj Guinness, this is his first foray into a full-length feature film. He started his career doing mimicry on Asianet's Cinemala. "I have been doing mimicry for 25 years. This opportunity is a big deal for me. I am delighted to be acting alongside Biju Menon. I play the role of Kunjatta, the marriage broker's assistant."
However, for Guinness, the plot-line of Aadya Rathri is more relevant in a village set-up than that of a city. "Many girls in small villages are still married off without their consent. This message must reach out to these small villages." Anaswara Rajan, who was only in Grade 8 when she started acting, has now become a hard person to catch for a quick chat. She was noticed most recently in the hit song Jaathikkathottam, from the film Thanneermathan Dinangal, and since then there has been no slowing down for the young star. Speaking to City Times mid- shooting for another movie, the young actor added, "The shooting experience was a unique one. It was great to act alongside Biju Menon, and I think it was a relevant theme to make a movie on."
Aju Varghese and Sarjano Khalid also make a lively presence on-screen.
Anaswara Rajan says the film’s theme is a relevant one