T.D. Dasan Std VI B is Malayalam movie written and directed by late Mohan Raghavan, released in 2010. I watched it on a DVD ordered from an online portal http://www.maebag.com.
The movie does no fit into the commercial category, but is a fine watch for all who love good cinema. It narrates the emotions of an 11 year old child Dasan who has never met his Dad, but longs for fatherly love. He expresses himself through a chain of letters sent to his Dad. However, it is another child, this time a 12 year old girl, Ammu, who receives the letters. The story highlights the innocent emotions of Dasan and how Ammu identifies with him despite her circumstances which are an antithesis to those of his.
The movie excels at handling the complex but innocent emotions of the two children. The storytelling is devoid of unnecessary sentiments/histrionics even as it revolves around the child-parent relationship. In fact this moderation, seldom seen in Malayalam films, is the highlight of this movie. Despite not presenting the story on a commercial level, the writer keeps the silent curiosity in the viewers mind flickering from start to end. He uses the technique of delayed revelation to perfection; and he has ample opportunities as the story plays around a chain of letters. And the style of keeping it for later not for once disturbs the viewer.
The writer closed the story with many untied knots. This too works perfectly well and blends with the overall style of storytelling employed here. The loose ends left at the end of the movie are powerful enough to engage the viewers mind.
For a fairly serious movie, it has a strand of humor running along. Dasans teacher (donned by Mala Aravindan), Madhavan Uncle (Jagadeesh) and Muthi (Valsala Menon) are not in there for humor, but they do have some beautiful scenes that make the viewer smile. Both the kids playing Dasan (Master Alexander) and Ammu (Tina Rose) do a very good job, while Shrruiti Menon playing Megha, Ammus cousin, is a letdown. Dasans voice, the other highlight of the film, added to the overall feel; not forgetting the beautiful background music.
The story was marred by a couple of bloopers (at least to my perception). The village tailor gossiping about Ramankutty (Suresh Krishna) in front of him should not happen unless the former is a fool. Dasan was supposed to hand over a new pen to his friend Thomas kutty, which does not seem to happen. But the worst was the driving school ladys perfect English accent when she talks to Ammu.
Overall, it is a good movie, definitely worth a watch. I was torn between 3 and 4 stars while rating, though I chose the latter as there is nothing between good and very good.
A last word on the director Mohan Raghavan: he died of cardiac arrest an year after the movie was released. He had also done a few short films before this debut movie. T. D. Dasan Std VI Bs direction is full of promise, but destiny had it different. Why him, at an age of 47? Question remains along with the other engaging questions posed by the story of T.D. Dasan Std VI B.