Althaf Salim’s Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela (2017) Movie Review
Starring Nivin Pauly, Shanthi Krishna, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Lal, Ahaana Krishna, Siju Wilson, Sharafudheen and Dileesh Pothan
Music Composed by Justin Varghese
Directed by Althaf Salim
Produced by Nivin Pauly
Cinematography by Mukesh Muraleedharan
Censor Certificate: U & Runtime: 131 Minutes
“Magic and Life are similar as the moment doesn’t last long and you need to trust the bonds you make“
Life is nothing but a roller-coaster ride of emotions. We don’t know which sperm hits the egg at a perfect moment to make us one of the tiniest particles in the known Universe. In Science, we are an aberration that Nature has found a way to adjust to and hold this blue rock at a right distance from a burning nuclear bomb. Our existence is a beautiful coincidence of many known and unknown elements coming together. Hence, all we have to do to live our life chin up and with positivity all around.
“Grave and danger is the mother of united voice“
We actually live in a land of crabs where we tend to drag each other down at every given moment. If a person wants to follow his heart, we object. If a person wants to become something we try to share our experience as the ultimate knowledge and truth claiming that if it did not work for you, it won’t work for them. This crab mentality even applies to our daily lifestyle and we at times rather than being strength become the elements that cause for a huge amount of pain for a person who is already going through hell. So, Altaf Salim, the writer and director calls our land, a land of crabs and we have to agree with his view point here even though it is unconventional.
“Keep your chin up when you’re down and be considerate when you’re on the raise“
Life can throw curveballs at you at any instance and this movie is the best example of that theory. It brings together a family in the vague of a grave danger and that is what the movie pines upon expertly. It never lets you take anything for granted and keeps you engaged and entertained with every moment on the screen. There are simple moments here that make up for a pleasant emotional ride and we enjoy it without being exploited for cheap emotions. Here our laughs are earned and our tears are well justified too. We don’t have to forcefully like a scene because there is a charming actor. You don’t have to accept someone in a character just because they’re playing it. They look the part and we are right from the first scene engaged into the story.
“Screenplay is more about what you decide to show and how?“
Altaf Salim and his set of writers don’t try to induce a laugh out loud moment after another so that you feel like bursting out. There is a process for characters to grow on you and the writers give the movie that space. Right from the word go, they ask you to be glued to the scene going on on the screen and charm you by being simple and realistic. They don’t try to bring in heavy emotional dialogues to the leads to let you know that they are going through a catastrophe and that works brilliantly for the run time.
When a character grows on you, you tend to not forget that for many moons and that is what these crabs are in the film. Sheela and her family, don’t just come together but they learn to share each other’s pain in silent glances. They make you vulnerable too. Altaf ‘s fresh approach to many emotions is refreshing. The reverberation scene with Subbu in the film is the best example of his sense of humor and timing.
But the movie is not devoid of flaws. The romance track for Nivin Pauly doesn’t convince you completely even though it calls back for Premam film and gives us a soothing melody like “Enthavo“. Music by Justin Varghese should be praised here and his Background score is in sync with all the emotions. Also, few scenes seem to have been played for jokes and they could have been imbibed even more generically into the script. At times, Editing feels too unnecessarily over dramatic and that could have been checked too.
Camerawork needs a special Menton here. The depth of field, the steady frames, extreme close ups and even weird Dutch angles are used in a pleasing manner than to just show some cool shot for you.
Characterizations of Kurien, Sheela and her family members are more close to life and live up on screen. You take time to warm up to them but once you do, you’re curious to know how they handle, why they tear up and how they overcome all.
“Love is eternal and magical. It is a bond and you can’t escape it ever!“
Nivin Pauly is a gifted actor who has great lovable charm and he pulls this off the character like just another day at the office. It is hard to become fat for a character and still make it look charming. He does that effortlessly. Shanti Krishna as the mother, Sheela lives in the character. She and Nivin are well supported by Aishwarya Lekshmi, Aahana Krishna, Lal and others.
“Remember the start so that you don’t have to look back or stop ever!”
All said and done, if there is no Kunti, what Pandavas become in a social world? How would they come close and stay strong? In a modern family, Lady is the main head of the family and this film in a way tributes to the courage and love of a mother. It is playing with Sub-titles outside Kerala and enjoy your slice of life joy ride without fail.