There have been a number of films that deal with the protagonist’s financial troubles, including the impressive Indian Rupee and Jacobinte Swargarajyam. Meppadiyan, scripted and directed by debutant Vishnu Mohan with Unni Mukundan in the lead role, belongs to the same genre where the central character is trapped in a series of problems following an unexpected financial trouble.
Unni Mukundan plays Jayakrishnan, who runs an automobile workshop and always walks the straight and the narrow. A mild-mannered man, he takes care of his old mother and is well liked in the village. To establish his decency, Jayakrishnan is shown drinking only milk, even refusing tea. His antithesis is Varki, played by Saiju Kurup, an alcoholic who has mismanaged his life and money.
Jayakrishnan, who is looking to buy some land for his sister, is convinced by Varki to buy land for cheap, and sell it at profit. Varki has his eyes on the land of a bed-ridden old man, Kireedam fame Kundara Johny, who badly needs immediate cash for his daughter’s wedding. Pressurised by Varki, Jayakrishnan agrees to the deal on the condition that an initial amount of Rs 30 lakh will be handed over to the land owner before his daughter’s wedding. Varki is already bankrupt and the onus is on Jayakrishnan to raise this money and pay the old man. From then on, it’s a race against time as our hero struggles to get money on time, even selling his house in the attempt. The movie shows bureaucratic red tape and struggles faced by Jayakrishnan to convince people of his situation and make the deal happen.
The introduction of a Muslim character, played by Indrans, is shown as a stereotypical businessman who uses Jayakrishnan’s situation to procure the land. Aju Varghese plays a shrewd local politician who tries to get his share of money while ostensibly helping Jayakrishnan.
The climax of the movie is also predictable, with a mediocre twist where Jayakrishnan is shown exacting his revenge. The climax scene where Jayakrishnan walks in a black attire with pulsating background music while going to Sabarimala looks totally out of place.
The movie had a scope for performances, especially for the main character. However, Unni Mukundan fails to do justice to it. The scene where Jayakrishnan loses his temper at the sub registrar officer should have brought out the pathos of the lead character but Mukundan’s performance remains on the surface. The emotional scenes especially showcase the gaps in his performance.
Aju Varghese played the role of the politician with conviction though the character wasn’t developed well. Indrans also played his part to perfection. Anju Kurian, who plays Jayakrishnan’s love interest, has little to do in the film.