Love Action Drama Malayalam Movie Review
Love Action Drama has a cliched love story, some nicely done action and moments of inventive humor. What it lacks is a solid drama to captivate the viewer. The drama falls flat for the most part. The terrific combo of Aju Varghese and Nivin Pauly occasionally bring the house down with their comic timing, but the film is a stretch.
Most romantic-comedies have a familiar arc: boy meets girl, girl fights with the boy, boy tries, girl resists, boy tries again and eventually girl relents. The initial moments of Love Action Drama tease a movie we think we know: the same old boy-girl love story. But in this Dhyan Sreenivasan debut directorial, they meet and fall in love so early that we wonder what they are going to do next, not whether they would unite. Most of the time watching Love Action Drama is spent wondering where the movie is heading to on automatic pilot.
The leading characters of Love Action Drama are Dinesh (Nivin Pauly) and Shobha (Nayanthara). Their names are a nod to the characters in Dhyan's father Sreenivasan's film Vadakkunokkiyantram - Dineshan and Shobha. Nivin Pauly's Dinesh is one who lives off his parent's riches, and who does nothing much except go after girls. He is so flirty and so good at being flirty that his mother complains about his bad habit. Referring to his previous job in a supermarket, she quips "you pestered girls there, and even the doll". It is a hilarious scene thanks to Mallika Sukumaran's comic timing.
Things take an uneventful turn when Dinesh lays eyes on Shobha at his cousin's wedding. Shobha is a Chennai settled girl who aspires to remain there even after marriage, and she wants Dinesh to be a model husband. The conflict of Love Action Drama is just that - she wants him to be that husband, but he cannot be. Dinesh cannot quit drinking, does not want to do a job, and makes it clear to her that he has enough wealth for them to live.
The wafer-thin conflict fails to elevate the love story of Love Action Drama from the ordinary level, but some of the film's best moment's center around it. This film would have played out better had more attention and screen time been given to the Aju-Nivin combination.
The things that connect Dinesh and Sagar (Aju Varghese) are booze and the former's girl matter. How Sagar tries to make Dinesh and Shobha split, and the way he does and undoes all the "good" works of his friend, and Dinesh's reaction to them are the film's best bits. Nivin Pauly hams away like only he can in a role tailor-made for him. And, when he is given cool lines to say, like "Ulakka Chakka Cha", Aju Varghese seldom misses a beat. These two are seasoned performers, and Dhyan's direction sparkles most when the focus is on them.
Nayanthara makes a comeback to Malayalam cinema after a long gap, and she does full justice to a hapless Shobha. She is forced to tolerate more machismo here than any normal girl could stand. I wonder why her Tamil-speaking portions were dubbed by Nayanthara, but Malayalam scenes by someone else. In fact, this carelessness is evident in many parts of the film. How does Dinesh look so good, neatly dressed and talk sense when he has had a drink too many? On the other hand, his friend Sagar could barely stand up on two legs and looks and talks drunken. Nivin Pauly has to act drunk guys better; for starters, at least he has to look someone who is about to doze off at any moment. Not a hair out of place, no makeup is made messy, and it seems barely believable that Nivin is drunk.
But none of this is the film's biggest fault - it is Dhyan's own uneventful script, which needs some more fine-tuning. Don't get me wrong, Dhyan has a sense of aesthetics and knows how to stage funny scenes.