Vineeth Sreenivasan's 'Thattathin Marayathu' has a few gung-ho moments here and there, and does keep you engaged with its proceedings. What it lacks is a story that is convincing, and its movements along predictable territory could make you care even less about the love that blossoms in it.
Vinod's (Nivin Pauly) love for Ayesha (Isha Talwar) is more of an obsession, and it almost seems impossible for him to move beyond that pretty face of her's behind the veil. The trance like state that he descends into is VTV-ish, but unfortunately he gets stuck there, and doesn't have a clue about the girl he has fallen in love with, except that she looks like an angel.
Thankfully (for him), one of his antics lands him at a police station, where cops have devoted their lives to set love tales straight. Heading the lot is Sub Inspector Prem Kumar (Manoj K Jayan), who hails from Trivandrum, who lends all support to Vinod. And what's more, they even help him set up a helmet business, which is without doubt one of the most embarrassing instances in the script.
This is a love story that stands in a vacuum, with apparently no other influences playing spoil sport. As much as it puts forward the idea that caste should no longer be a decisive factor in marriage or love, it turns away from a highly critical society as such and pretends that no other bottle necks exist. If only life were as simple as that!
I am still clueless as to why it was that there was a digression midway through the falling-in-love process, and they started telling a tale (one which involves Sunny Wayne and Manikkuttan) that apparently had little bearing on the way the story progresses. Like many of the highly synthetic sequences that follow (the setting up of a Purdah shop, for instance to signify Hindu - Muslim untiy), this one too stands out like a sore thumb.
When the police man proclaims that this love story would have a happy ending, you don't expect a man to topple the table all on a sudden and set the story on the right track towards glory. And that is exactly what Ayesha's dad (Sreenivasan) does, and before a night had dawned, all is well with the world again.
There are two remarkable instances in the film, one of which proclaims that it's the woman's purity that the black veil ought to shroud, and not her dreams. The second one is when Ayesha expresses her determination and states that she has no intentions whatsoever to ruin her life, as some of her predecessors had done.
Which brings to mind the question as to why Ayesha remains mute for almost the entirety of this film. She is no baffled girl who doesn't know what she wants from life; on the contrary, they want us to believe that she has got a mind of her own, one in which she has kept her dreams of a beautiful life in tact. But she rarely talks, and remains an enigma, who makes you wonder what is actually going on inside her. And that too, in a love story that goes round and round her all the while.
Even more astonishing is the way Vinod turns out to be in the end. The man who had proclaimed not much earlier that he couldn't sit or stand without thoughts of his love haunting him day and night, decides to go and sit at the pier, looking out at the sea, when he hears that Ayesha might be leaving the place. For the first time, you feel sorry for her, and wonder if the man obsessed with her veiled visage is indeed the right choice for her.
Performances of the lead actors often come to the rescue, even as the script holds few surprises. Nivin Pauly and Aju Varghese are remarkably good, and a whole lot of charm of the entire film rests on the highly appealing countenance of Isha Talwar. Aparna Nair, in a very brief role, ascertains that she is an actress whom we should be on the look out for. Jomon's cinematography sees to it that the film is visually delightful.
Forget Vineeth's generation, 'Thattathin Marayathu' has a theme that film makers of Sreenivasan's generation had little interest in. And the bottle that he pours this old wine into, is one that has long lost its shine as well.