Love Action Drama Movie Review: An elegant but bland romantic comedy
The biggest problem with Love Action Drama is that it fails to convincingly sell the love story of Nayanthara and Nivin Pauly
For a film that's supposed to be about the romance between a man Dinesh (Nivin Pauly) and a woman, Shobha (Nayanthara), you get to see the man spending more time with his buddy Sagar (Aju Varghese) than he does with his woman. Obviously, the chemistry between Dinesh and Sagar is much better. At one point, two female characters catch Dinesh and Sagar in an awkward moment, and you can't blame them for suspecting that there is something going on between the two.
Director: Dhyan Sreenivasan
Cast: Nivin Pauly, Nayanthara, Aju Varghese, Vineeth Sreenivasan
The biggest problem with Love Action Drama is that it fails to convincingly sell the love story of the main couple. It's supposedly a romantic comedy, but there is more bromance here than actual romance. There are hardly two or three scenes where we see Dinesh and Shobha together. Yes, they do meet and chat occasionally, but those moments are few and far between. The rest of the time, we only see them communicating through texts. If we aren't made to feel the depth of their relationship, how are we supposed to take it seriously?
But that is not at all. Dinesh and Shobha are not compelling characters to begin with. Now, I'm not saying that the characters have to be relatable for the film to be engaging. And it's obvious that the goal of the film is only to entertain us without being too intellectual. Even so, there has to be a certain degree of emotional conflict to get us invested in the drama.
The film is at its best whenever Dinesh makes an appearance, even though he is not funny all the time. Dinesh is someone who is thinking of girls and romance all the time. (We are told that once he didn't even spare the mannequin at the textile shop.) He is still nursing the wound of rejection from a childhood sweetheart. It's at this childhood sweetheart's wedding that Dinesh first meets Shobha. Setting up a romance at a wedding has by now become a cliche but then this film doesn't seem to care about celebrating cliches. To be fair to Nivin, it's he who revives the film whenever life seems to go out of it. Dinesh is not supposed to be a likeable character and Nivin does a fairly good job of keeping us at a distance. He is like that annoying guy in school or college you don't want to be friends with, but you laugh whenever he cracks a joke.
An attempt is made to make the narrative interesting by adopting a slightly non-linear approach but it seems redundant. The elegantly-shot film begins with Dinesh stabbing a picture of Shobha and then goes back six months to seek the reason behind that emotion. It all starts when Shobha attends the wedding of her friend, who happens to be Dinesh's childhood sweetheart. Dinesh, smitten by the half-Malayali Shobha, decides to pursue a post-graduate course in Chennai, where she resides. But in order to impress her, he has to impress her friends first. Since he is blessed with the magical ability to charm any character in the film, he manages to do just that. Instead of setting aside some time to go deeper into what drew them to each other, we get that done-to-death sequence where the couple is walking on a beach in slow motion, with one of them pointing to something in the distance.
As Shobha, Nayanthara doesn't get to do much other than look pretty and occasionally get upset with Dinesh. Dinesh is not bothered by the fact that he is jobless. He tells Shobha that after marriage, he'll get to be with her all the time since he has inherited a huge fortune from his late father. We can't figure out what it is about Dinesh that Shobha finds appealing, and neither do some of the supporting characters. There is a moment where she tells him that every little thing he does makes her happy. But at the same time, she doesn't like it when he drinks or smokes. Dinesh agrees to be a teetotaler for her sake, but it's hard to trust a guy who doesn't have a strong grip on his urges. Why should we believe that he is going to change as soon as he gets married? There are several moments in the film where the couple goes through "I hate you, I like you" moments and you start wondering if they are bipolar. It gets so tiring that after a point, I didn't care whether they ended up together or not.