Yes, director Sathyan Anthikkad’s Snehaveedu begins pretty well. There is the typical village backdrop that is synonymous with the director’s style, characters all of whom are the epitomes of virtue, Mohanlal in full form armed with his superb comic timing which was missing for some time now and Sheela playing his doting mom.
As we break for intermission, we sincerely feel that another success story is in the cards, from the veteran filmmaker. But things start going awry mainly in the second half. The suspense which is maintained until the last few scenes ends up as thoroughly unconvincing.
Ajayan (Mohanlal) has worked in the Gulf and also in Chennai, before returning to his home in Palakkad where his mom Ammukkutty Amma (Sheela ) lives. He is a likeable chronic bachelor, who often boasts about his past escapades with women to some of his gullible friends.
The plot moves along with the introduction of characters like Karimkannan Mathai (Innoncent) and his wife (KPAC Lalitha), who is not yet ready to forgive their daughter (Lena) for eloping with sub inspector Balan (Biju Menon), one after the other. Then there is Sunanda (Padmapriya), who works in a soap manufacturing unit.
The whole story takes a different turn with the entry of Karthik (Rahul Pillai), a teenager who has come from Chennai, claiming that he is Ajayan’s son. The boy soon becomes close to Ammukkutty Amma, though Ajayan is desperately trying to prove that Karthik is not his son.
Now, who actually is Karthik and what is his connection with Ajayan? It is intriguing enough at least for some time until you are surprised by the disappointing way in which the mystery is solved.
Sathyan Anthikkad, who has scripted the film besides directing it, succeeds in presenting some nice moments for the viewers. But then, you will also have to sit through the melodramatic situations, clichéd characters, a rather weak storyline and a confused script.
Many scenes defy logic and bring in several doubts in the minds of the hapless viewers. Like, why didn’t anyone ask for his mother’s photograph from Karthik? Or why is Ammukkutty Amma so adamant that the boy’s whereabouts should not be revealed? Some of the characters, like for instance the one played by Innocent, has been half baked and silly. Venu’s visuals are fine and Ilayaraja’s music is just about okay.
Still, it is a return of the old Mohanlal that every Malayali loves so much, as the hero impresses with a sterling show. He is genuine, funny and evidently involved in the proceedings, within the limits of a not-so-great script. His emotional scenes with Sheela, who is also superb in her role, are just mind blowing.
Debutant Rahul Pillai is fine at times. The rest of the cast has limited roles to play. Snehaveedu has been presented honestly for sure, but suffers due to the lack of a credible storyline and also with its highly conventional narrative style.
When compared to Sathyan’s own rather recent films like Manassinakkare, Achuvinte Amma or Bhagyadevatha, this film is nowhere near. Obviously, this one could have been better!