Let’s get straight to the heart of it. Manjummel Boys unfolds amidst the deep caves of Kodaikanal, but here’s the twist – it strikes a chord in Tamil Nadu, something that might not have been possible had it been a Tamil film. Why, you ask? Because the tale of overcoming adversity sings in the authentic, down-to-earth rhythm of Malayalam cinema, touching the audience’s heart in a way only it can. A big shoutout to director Chidambaram and the team for weaving such a heartfelt narrative. While I think the film is pretty great, it’s fair to say the buzz from media and social circles gave it a nice little push. Still, it earns a solid Ripe from Mangoiditos.

The cast is nothing short of spectacular. Soubin Shahir and Sreenath Bhasi lead with performances that hit just the right note, and even the roles with less screen time, like George Maryan and the police officers and firefighters, fit their parts perfectly, adding depth to the story.

Watching the film took me back to a personal adventure in 1995, long before the events that inspired this movie in 2006 occurred. I explored the depths of Guna caves during a college trip, a memory filled with fear and awe. Unlike in the movie, our guide never mentioned the perilous pit, probably to keep our nerves calm. The descent into the cave was a steep, heart-stopping journey, followed by a crawl out through a pitch-black tunnel, filled with the unseen presence of spiders, scorpions, and who knows what else. It was an eerie reminder of the cave’s dangers and the wise decision by authorities to close it off, safeguarding against reckless thrill-seekers. Manjummel Boys isn’t just a film; it’s a piece of nostalgia, a thrilling adventure, and a poignant reminder of nature’s unforgiving beauty.

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