Mera Naam Shaji Review
The name hogs the centre stage with its disconnection from religious frontiers, according to one of the characters. Here Shaji becomes the first name of three major characters from different districts. Nadirshah's third directorial venture narrates their tale when they accidentally involve in an incident. The package is interesting at a glance, but a ringside view of 'Mera Naam Shaji' exposes its fragile comic track and a dollop of love affair added for the twist turns out to be a damp squib.
Scenarist Dileep Ponnan embraces the conventional formula in the love affair between Shaji George, played by Asif Ali, and Neenu Thomas (Nikhila Vimal). The situations lack powerful justifications to make the three 'Shajis' unite in Kochi. Once again, Asif is a carefree youth in 'Mera Naam Shaji', while Shaji Usman (Biju Menon) and Shaji Sukumaran (Baiju) exude maturity in their demeanour. Shaji Usman is a goonda in Kozhikode and he comes to Kochi with a mission (read as 'quotation') given by lawyer Lawrence (Sreenivasan).
In the south, Shaji Sukumaran is a taxi driver, who goes to Kochi with a four-member passenger group. Meanwhile, Shaji George along with his friend Kuntheeshan (Dharmajan Bolgatty) enjoys life by tricking people. Ganesh Kumar plays Dominic, a local politician, and he scolds his brother Shaji George quite often for his erratic lifestyle. One boozing party with Kuntheeshan blazes the trail for the conflict in the tale.
Despite its riveting theme, 'Mera Naam Shaji' is undone by a feeble screenplay and lackluster fun altogether. The paucity of genuine humour is explicit in one of the scenes where Dharmajan eats meals at a house-turned-eatery and gives reasons for not paying cash.
Biju Menon sustains the impact though his character has shades of repetitive mannerisms reminiscent to his earlier films. Superficiality in the narration and screenplay sidelines the genuine essence of a creative impression about all characters. Nikhila Vimal has little to perform albeit Neenu becomes the core of the conflict after undergoing severe mental agony. The casual approach by Nadirshah on a lighter note, fortunately, finds its grip in the first half, but the effect vanishes in the latter half.
Portraying people around Neenu Thomas with grey shades is seemingly a deliberate excuse to carve an easy route to the climax. Vinod Illampally's cinematography satiates your visual senses yet the scenes that warrant meaningful elevation convey dismal effect.
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