Verdict: A positive and light-hearted family drama.
Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela has hit the big screen this Onam. Directed by Althaf Salim and produced by Nivin Pauly under the banner of Pauly Jr. Pictures, Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela is one of the big Malayalam releases this week. But has this movie turned out to be an Onam treat? Let’s find out.
The film begins with a voice-over narration by introducing us to Sheela Chacko (Shanti Krishna), a brave college professor and Chacko (Lal), her not so courageous tall husband with a deep voice that does not go along with his nature. There is also their eldest daughter Mary (Srinda), her husband Tony (Siju Wilson), youngest daughter Sarah (Ahaana) and grandfather.
As days go by in the life of the Chacko family, we are soon made to realize that something is not right. Sheela summons her son Kurien Chacko (Nivin Pauly) from London. A confused Kurien lands in Kerala but instead of asking his parents what the matter is he assumes it’s for his marriage. A visibly excited Kurien spends the next few days munching on Lays chips and lying on the couch, Nivin does a pretty good job at being lazy, we must admit.
Fun fact, there are two ways to tear open a Lays packet as shown in the film. The first method involves a loud noise while opening the packet is used by Kurien towards the climax leading to a tragic and yet somehow a comical scene. The second method, slowly and quietly opening the packet is what Chacko applies while trying to tell his family that his wife and their mother Sheela has breast-cancer. Chacko quietly manages to break the news after many failed comical attempts.
The Chacko family’s world turns upside down but soon Sheela makes it clear to everyone that sympathy is the last thing she needs at this point and asks them rather sternly to support her mentally instead of being sad and upset around her all the time. The rest of the film is about how the Chacko family deals with the situation and how they come together as a support system to Sheela.
Here, right at this juncture of the story, with so many possibilities at hand for instance, the film could have taken the route of making Nivin’s character become more responsible – a coming of age tale or mend a broken relationship within the family (in this family, however, everyone seems happy with each other, so this story-line becomes non-viable). Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela takes a serious matter and tries to eliminate any shock or grief which is a smart move by director Althaf but the comic elements need to be strong. Here, they fail to emotionally connect with the audience and leave an emotional void. Makes you at times wonder Ith Enthaavo?
The most emotionally engaging scene is the one in which Kurien tells his sisters of the time their fearless mother ran away to India with them all alone from Kuwait during the Gulf War. This scene exhibited Nivin’s acting prowess. The rest of the cast also deliver a good performance, especially Shanti Krishna who makes a comeback after a long gap. The cinematography by Mukesh Muraleedharan is fresh and works well with the mood of the film.
Can you imagine a Nivin Pauly film with no premam? No, right! A short and lovely romance between Kurien and Rachel (Aishwarya Lekshmi) is weaved into the storyline but the actress Aishwarya has a very limited screen-time. At one point in the film, Rachel asks Kurien if he knows what love is and Kurien replies “Even kids know my Premam". Scenes with subtle humor that blends in with the situation are what the film is all about.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Director Althaf gives us all a light-hearted film filled with optimism. You should definitely watch this film because you will leave the theater with a wide smile on your face.
If you still aren't convinced then perhaps these five reasons might just do the trick: