The brilliance of Odiyan’s lead actors Mohanlal and Manju Warrier are showcased in two scenes – one in which Odiyan Manikyan begs on his knees to make Prabha believe he is innocent of the crime he is accused of and another in which she bows her head in gratitude for him helping return light in her life.
For the most part, Odiyan is a drama and an aptly paced one at that too. The relationships of its three characters – Manikyan, Prabha and Ravunni (Prakash Raj) – are what the movie explores in detail and all the marketing about the movie playing to the gallery takes a backseat as Harikrishnan’s script delves deep into telling their stories.
The only times where the movie picks up speed is during its four action scenes, each better than the other, and climax battle of Odiyan taking the cake.
The movie begins with an aged Odiyan Manikyan returning to his village in Thenkurissi after a self-imposed exile of 15 years. He is reviled and even derided for returning, and soon he is forced to take up a challenge to scare a youngster using the tricks of his tribe. Soon the film traces Manikyan’s journey through flashbacks and introduces the audience to his childhood friend Prabha and her lustful, scheming cousin Ravunni. The rivalry between Manikyan and Ravunni simmers till two deaths in Prabha’s family pushes Manikyan to leave the village. How his return affects those in the village forms the rest of the plot.
Director Shrikumar has ably executed Harikrishnan’s script that doesn’t have mass dialogues or scenes but goes for grounded storytelling. It’s quite contrary to all the hype and builds up the film had pre-release and might leave the fans wanting more.
Mohanlal as the shape-shifting Odiyan is on top form, both during the scenes that require to do action and also emote. Mammootty’s narration about how Odiyans strike fears to those they are paid to scare by taking the form of animals and Shrikumar’s use of graphics to execute the concept has helped the film to a great extent.
Manju Warrier aces her scenes with Mohanlal, with a meaty role after quite some time. Prakash Raj too puts on a decent performance, however, the dubbing does take away the impact from his villainy.
Shaji Kumar’s frames are another highlight of the film along with M Jayachandran’s songs that are well picturized, especially the track Kondaram. However, what steals the scenes are Peter Hein-choreographed action sequences that also add some much-needed punch to sometimes stretched out 167 minute-long movie.
If the length could have been further trimmed, Odiyan would have been a highly engaging film even for the fans expecting a ‘mass’ movie. Even otherwise Odiyan has good acting, a well thought-out script and brilliant action scenes that the family audience would enjoy.