Cast: Shanthi Krishna, Nivin Pauly, Lal, Ahaana Krishnan
Director : Althaf Salim
One of the best movies of the season, Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela is the perfect package for a family entertainer. The way the movie discusses a very grave subject without melodramatic scenes, tear-jerking BGMs and emotional performances is laudable. Through his debut directorial, actor Althaf makes it clear that he is not the little boy he seems to be and is here to stay.
How an upper middle class family deals with a crisis is portrayed in a never-before-seen manner with situational humour that never crosses the limits of decency. A laugh riot with its own share of memorable and touching moments, the movie maintains the underlying gravity of the story amid the spectacular presentation. There are no surprises or goosebump moments — either in the story or the performance, but here is a movie you would love for its simplicity and genuineness.
The movie revolves around a family whose life topples one fine morning following a ‘small doubt’. The makers have succeeded in making the audience part of the family. Lal excels as the faint-hearted and insecure Chacko (Lal) who barely knows how to handle the war with the ‘army of crabs’. He puts up a great show as the pigeon-hearted father who always worries over every trivial issue. Shanthi Krishna, as the mature, strong and gritty college professor Sheela, delivers a realistic performance as the fierce warrior — the heroine. She remains the show-stealer in her comeback movie.
Nivin’s London-returned Kurien reminds you of most of his earlier characters — the lazy, childish, irresponsible guy who rises to the occasion when the time comes for him to act. The scene in which he explains the Gulf War to his sisters is a gem, for he handles it with charm, keeping it subtle. Ahaana Krishnan as the phone-obsessed Sarah gives a few relatable moments, especially during the mother-daughter, brother-sister conversations. In a full-length hilarious role, Maheshinte Prathikaram-fame K.L. Antony made the best use of his screen time. Srinda Arhaan, Saiju Kurup (the classic Newton’s Third Law scene) and Dileesh Pothen added to the hilarity. The Premam gang — Siju Wilson, Sharafuddin and Krishna Sankar — enacts their roles perfectly without going overboard. The second heroine Rachel (debutante Aishwarya Lakshmi) makes an entry only in the second half and puts up a good show. A stark contrast from the usual crybaby heroine while facing responsibilities, Rachel is the bright, positive girl who finds time to shop, take lessons in driving and cooking and also fall in love.
Though the romance seems a bit forced and unconvincing, it manages to gel with the storyline. There is not a single moment to give away that the movie is made by a debutante. A standing ovation to the gem named Althaf!
The impressive script he penned with George Kora offers a fun ride through the heartwarming exploration of an otherwise sentimental theme. The music by Justin Varghese deserves a hats off. The subtle background score and the soulful songs, especially the lovely song in the first half, add to the beauty of the movie. Mukesh Muralidharan’s frames — mostly set indoors — are stunning and contribute so much to the theme of love and positivity.