An intimidated schoolgirl struggles hard to meet others’ expectations and find her own identity as she grows up.
Introverts range from the sorrowful, quiet types with few or no friends to the beaming, star performers with a zillion fans. And there is no sure, scientific way of recognizing them. The protagonist of Mili, though, exhibits the pronounced and most typically well-known characteristics of a certain stereotype that we only see in our cinema.
The film opens with the image of the titular character as a schoolgirl, with her back to the camera; timid, afraid to face the world. And closes with the grownup Mili addressing an audience and confidently, talking about the mental damage that society causes to the individual. This much is fine, and could have been inspiring. But what makes the girl suddenly shed a lifetime of fears and negativity and climb onto the stage and how she manages to do so, is not shown convincingly. In fact, the intended catalyst is weak. “You simply ought to step out of your comfort zone”, someone tells her. She agrees. And continues to live well within it, doing what she naturally loves: teaching and taking care of kids.
There’s a lot that is odd about this character, Mili, that the scriptwriter ought to have cleaned up. And it’s not just her eccentricities, which is fine. Mili’s a contradiction of sorts. She’s a loner who prefers to share a room with three other girls she never interacts with, rather than have a space all for herself. And she sits for hours alone on the floor in the dark corner of the toilet, but wants the full light of the sun to liven up her room. Weighed down with fright, Nandana, the actress playing the young Mili, walks feebly, with a crouch, face down, shutting herself off from the rest of the world and establishes the character of Mili. Amala Paul takes over from there, as the older version, her face glimmering with the smile of an imp. Tepping into a dress, Amala is coy as a bird without her feathers.
Unfortunately, Rajesh Pillai’s study of a problem child results in the latter’s unrealistic sudden transformation into a mature adult sans impetus. Pillai shows us the transformation but not really the journey towards it. And that is the film’s biggest failure.
Malayalam, Drama, Color