Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela: No laugh riot
This is not your regular full-on fun ride, but rather a film with its heart in the right place
Trailers can be deceptive, but at times they turn into wicked ploys, selling an insanely different product to masses in the matter of a few seconds. So you enter the theatre all geared for an outright entertainer, happy to relish the fun-packed first taste. You know what the hero and his co-stars are capable of, and are quite convinced of the credentials of the crew. And then you wait, and wait, and wait. It's only after the lukewarm first half that it sinks in - Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela is not what you expected. And surprisingly, the film starts getting better from that point.
Cast: Nivin Pauly, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Ahaana Krihsna, Lal, Dileesh Pothan,
Direction: Althaf Salim
Althaf Salim, the debutant director, knows his craft, and has tried to tell his story with fact and feeling in equal measures. You will find a kind of soft, subtle detailing, through which he maintains the realism. He also proves that you don't need oodles of reel time to make a character tick. There are times when the film moves into the territory of an awareness video, but he deftly navigates it back.
Njandukalude Natiil Oridavela is the story of Sheela, mother of Kurien (Nivin Pauly), Mary (Srinda) and Sarah (Ahaana Krishna). She is diagnosed with cancer. In one of the post-interval scenes, we meet two carefree youngsters at a hospital. The heroine's father is undergoing cancer treatment, and the hero is there for his mother's chemo session. The girl informs him that her mother will be around somewhere crying and Nivin gives her his famous, clueless face asking 'what happened?' That moment precisely defines Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, a film that zooms into dysfunctional families, insensitive kids who need a real shocker to get out of their self-indulgent reverie.
Kurien, the relaxed, light-hearted youth, is a character tailor-made for Nivin. The actor sticks to his comfort zone of carefree antics, never stepping out of the range of expressions he can handle. Shanti Krishna makes a commendable comeback as Sheela, and Sharafudheen is responsible for the few genuine laughs. While Aishwarya Lakshmi delivers what's expected of her, Srinda and Ahaana give realistic performances.
Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, is not a bad film or a badly-made film. In fact, it is rather a brave, heartfelt attempt at exploring a very relevant theme. But, at the same time, it's not your full-on fun ride as advertised or a mass entertainer poised to break records. Whatever may be its BO fate, it's definitely a film with its heart in the right place.