Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela Malayalam Movie ReviewFeature Film | U
Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela is the perfect example of where the obsession for "feel-good" films has led contemporary Malayalam cinema.
There is a shadow of a story somewhere in Njandukalude Nattil. The matriarch of an affluent family is down with stage-two cancer. Note that the family is 'affluent'. And this relatively early stage of cancer means there are no serious consequences in the fictional world of this fun film. So what we get is a classic 'feel-good' film, which can never be as touching as it is comforting.
Director Althaf Salim nurtures his film largely by bringing back a yesteryear actress like Shanthi Krishna to the forefront. As the cancer-ridden mother, her performance is soulful and nostalgic in equal measure. Opposite her is Lal, who may have played many middle-aged family men in his career but none quite like this one. Against type, the naturally brooding actor has to act nervous and vulnerable, which he does with aplomb.
Coming to the younger stars, Nivin Pauly gives a divisive performance, by his recent standards. However, one can't hold him responsible for it since it is a case of lazy writing as well. Behaving like a man-child, you can't easily decide if his character, Kurien, is simply comedic or one without depth and nuance. The hurried romantic angle between him and newcomer Aishwarya Lakshmi's Rachel doesn't help complete his character arc either. As there is so much emphasis on the leading man, such a muddled characterization affects the storyline and characters around him.
While Aishwarya Lekshmi is at ease in her acting debut, the side roles from Siju Wilson, Saiju Kurup, Krishna Kumar and Dileesh Pothan make the most out of their presence.
The story could have drawn more interest by dropping some of its laid-back plot points for bigger emotional payoffs. Instead, it somehow overcomes the inadequate drama with a fair deal of family-friendly gags and a spirited atmosphere.
In the end, a right attitude to entertaining masses and classes alike saves the day for Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela.