Manjummel Boys: A Thrilling Descent into Friendship and Survival

"Manjummel Boys" follows four friends on a fateful trip to Kodaikanal, where an accident thrusts them into a harrowing fight for survival in the treacherous Guna Cave. Director Chidambaram's Malayalam film is a gripping tale of friendship and resilience, blending captivating performances with masterful technical execution.
Manjummel Boys
Manjummel Boys


The year is 2006. In Manjummel, a small town on the outskirts of Ernakulam, Kerala, four friends - Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi, Balu Varghese, and Ganapathy - form the "Manjummel Boys" club. Drawn from diverse backgrounds, they embark on a celebratory Onam trip to Kodaikanal.

Little do they know, their carefree adventure will take a terrifying turn when they venture into the forbidden territory of Guna Cave. An unexpected accident plunges one of their own into a deep, treacherous pit, known as "Devil's Kitchen."

This is where director Chidambaram's Malayalam film, "Manjummel Boys," begins - a gripping tale of friendship, resilience, and the fight for survival.

Manjummel Boys
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Manjummel Boys
Manjummel Boys


Soubin Shahir delivers a nuanced performance, portraying his character's transformation from a playful prankster to a responsible leader grappling with a desperate situation. Sreenath Bhasi shines with his subtle yet powerful body language, conveying the emotional weight of the crisis. Balu Varghese and Arun Kurian bring vibrancy to the group, showcasing their camaraderie beyond the initial comedic scenes. The supporting cast, including Ganapathy, Deepak Parambol, Ramachandran Durairaj, and George Marian, deliver commendable performances, each contributing to the film's emotional depth.

Manjummel Boys
Manjummel Boys
Manjummel Boys
Manjummel Boys

Technical Aspects:

Shaiju Khalid's cinematography deserves special praise. His masterful use of camera angles and frames, particularly within the claustrophobic cave scenes, effectively amplifies the tension and fear.

The VFX-assisted shot of the body falling into the pit delivers a truly chilling cinematic experience. Vivek Harshan's editing seamlessly maintains the film's pace, seamlessly transitioning between thrilling moments and emotional scenes. Sushin Syam's background score masterfully complements the film's emotional trajectory, with the exception of the "Kumbalangi Nights" theme, which feels slightly jarring. Ajayan Challissery's production design deserves applause for its meticulously crafted portrayal of the Guna Cave, with its intricate folds and shapes adding to the film's immersive atmosphere. Other technical aspects, such as sound design and make-up, further enhance the film's realism.

Story and Themes:

Inspired by a true incident from 2003, "Manjummel Boys" starts with a lighthearted exploration of friendship and youthful camaraderie. The first half playfully depicts the pranks, relationships, and preparations of the "Manjummel Boys" as they embark on their trip. However, the narrative takes a sharp turn when the accident occurs, transforming into a gripping survival thriller. The film avoids resorting to exaggerated drama, instead relying on natural tension and suspense to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The director skillfully avoids predictable plotlines and clichés, keeping the audience engaged and guessing.


Several elements contribute to the film's success. The nuanced portrayal of the friends' individual personalities and their evolving bond is particularly noteworthy. The use of subtle details, such as the rope-pulling competition (Tug of War) and the childhood stories, adds depth to the characters and creates a strong emotional connection with the audience. The unique treatment of the emotional climax, including the innovative use of the song "Kanmani Anbodu Kadhalan," is another highlight.

Minor Weaknesses:

While minor, there are a few areas for improvement. The use of Tamil dialogues occasionally suffers from stereotypical portrayals and could be refined. Additionally, the film's pacing could be slightly tightened in certain sections, particularly during the initial exposition.


"Manjummel Boys" is a captivating film that transcends its survival thriller genre by exploring themes of friendship, courage, and resilience. The strong performances, masterful technical execution, and engaging narrative make it a must-watch for anyone seeking a thrilling cinematic experience.

This Review was originally written by Cinema Critic Srinivasan R and journalist Aravindraj ramesh  and appeared in Here is the revised english version.


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