Two worlds come together in a courtroom to address concerns that are still relevant—that's Abrid Shine's satire drama Mahaveeryar in a nutshell.
The dispute is between a commoner woman and a haughty and conceited ruler Rudra Mahaveera Ugrasena Maharaja. The king, who has been suffering from hiccups for several months, has a vision that he can be healed by the tears of a young woman. He has 2,000 wives but none of them are able to cure him. On his orders, a woman (Shanvi Srivastava) who resembles the one in the king's vision is forcibly brought to the palace. He tries to get her to cry, but she doesn't, and that makes him even more furious.
Most of the film takes place in a courtroom, with the first half focusing on a young monk named Apoornanandan (Nivin Pauly), who is accused of stealing a priceless idol from the temple. It is fairly entertaining and the dark humour succeeds in keeping the audience interested. It was entertaining to see Apoornanandan defend himself in court. The second half is more serious, probably because it deals with a political issue. The major part of the plot is revealed in the second half.
With Mahaveeryar, acclaimed writer M. Mukundan and director Shine have created something original and creative. The fact that in a democratic society the law is supposed to protect the downtrodden but ultimately those with more influence and power prevail, is addressed brilliantly.
Despite limited screen time, Pauly has done a great job portraying the monk. Asif Ali as Veerabhadran, too, is good. Srivastava's character is significant, and she emotionally engages the audience. Lal as the haughty king, Lalu Alex as the public prosecutor, and Siddique as the judge have all lived upto the expectations.
Music and cinematography, too, deserve a special mention.
The climax may invoke surprise and a bit of disappointment because of some poor writing.
Though Mahaveeryar dramatises a fairly straightforward story, it is definitely worth a watch.
Director: Abrid Shine
Cast: Nivin Pauly, Asif Ali, Shanvi Srivastava