The 21st Mumbai Film Festival began on 17th October with the Asia premiere of Geethu Mohandas’ Malayalam crime film Moothon (The Elder One), starring Nivin Pauly and Sobhita Dhulipala in lead roles. The movie, which recently had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and has also been released in Hindi, follows the story of a teenager Mulla (Sanjana Dipu), in Lakshadweep, yearning for her elder brother who went missing several years ago. Circumstances lead Mulla to Mumbai where she meets sex worker Rosy (Sobhita), a gangster Akbar (Nivin) and various other characters in Mumbai’s underbelly, and the story unfolds like a thriller.
Moothon is Geethu’s second feature film as a writer-director after Liar’s Dice. Film reviewer Pradeep Menon gave it 3.5 stars in the Firstpost and wrote how it “goes several steps ahead of Liar’s Dice” in terms of the director’s technical achievement. He further wrote, “Her second feature is a kinetic visual affair, with Rajeev Ravi capturing its two main locales with flair. Mohandas leaves much open to interpretation on the part of the viewer, her screenplay a throbbing, organic clutter that seems to shape and evolve itself as it goes along.”
In Moothon, Malayalam star Nivin Pauly appears in an intense and menacing role, which is completely different from his roles in previous flicks. A review in DNA India said Nivin had “shed his chocolate and lover boy image” and, “He got into the skin of the character perfectly and not just emotionally but physically as well.” Gautaman Bhaskaran, of News18, called him “superb” but called the writing “weak” and said Moothon had “the usual drama of junkies and car chases and violence.” He said the director “falls prey to what cinema should be” and “we have seen this so often on the Indian screen.”