'Momo in Dubai' movie review: Feel-good cinema done right

In his directorial debut, Ameen Aslam succeeds in knitting together the right mix of emotions to offer a heartwarming experience

Published: 03rd February 2023 10:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2023 10:51 AM   |  A+A-

A still from Ameen Aslam's 'Momo in Dubai'

A still from Ameen Aslam's 'Momo in Dubai'. (Photo | IMDb)

Express News Service

In life, it is our aspirations and ambitions that keep pushing us forward. For some, it might be becoming a doctor, and for some, it might be as simple as savouring a slice of pizza. Momo In Dubai (MID) revolves around one such dream of a young boy. Storywise, MID has a striking resemblance to the Kunchacko Boban-starrer Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho (KPAC). Just like the kid in KPAC, who nurses a longtime ambition to fly in an aeroplane, Momo—the titular character in MID—also has a dream that he holds close to his heart.

Mohammed aka Momo belongs to a lower middle-class Malabari Muslim family. His father, who works in Dubai, hasn’t met the family in 2 years. In spite of all his financial struggles, Habeeb takes his wife and three kids to Dubai for a month-long vacation. An elated Momo is finally close to living his dream, but just like the boy in KPAC, he also has to endure multiple disappointments while in pursuit of it. In retrospect, this might sound like a simple aspirational tale, but it is one that’s embellished by an organic narrative and some delightful performances.

Over the past decade or so, feel-good cinema has been one of Malayalam’s favourite genres. There has been an abundance of such films in the recent past, which has resulted in creating a sense of tedium among the general public. But time and again, it has been proven that if done right, feel-good cinema is a sure bet. In his directorial debut, Ameen Aslam succeeds in knitting together the right mix of emotions to offer a heartwarming experience.

Momo’s dream might come across as an easily accomplishable dream and the family’s struggles to achieve it might sound exaggerated to many, but the unpretentious writing by Zakariya and Ashif Kakkodi ensures it’s a genuinely relatable story. It begins with a neat establishment of Momo and his world. Here’s a flashy little kid who goes around the village yelling in excitement about his Dubai visit. Most of his dialogues are extremely funny, and thankfully, none of it is forced.

Then there’s Anu Sithara, with her delightful rendering of the Malabari accent, excelling as the mother of three. The bond between Khadeeja and her husband, played by Aneesh Gopinathan, is one of my favourite things about the film. The two understand each other with the slightest of glances and even amidst all their struggles, there’s hardly any fuss. The other two kids also play their part well.

Johny Antony, who seems to be getting only better as an actor, gets an interesting character in the film. His Kunjakka is a representative of a large section of the working-class Malayalis in the Gulf region. The childlike excitement he exudes during the final few moments plays a major part in elevating that all-important sequence. The film literally ends on a high ensuring the audience leaves the cinema hall with moist eyes. Well, if that’s not feel-good cinema, what is?

Film: Momo in Dubai
Director: Ameen Aslam
Cast: Athrey Baiju, Anu Sithara, Aneesh Gopinathan, Johny Antony
Rating: 3.5/5 stars


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  • Babu

    1 month ago reply
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