Nayattu Malayalam Movie

Feature Film | 2021 | UA
Martin Prakkat's new thriller Nayattu is about a flawed law and order system where the cops are mere pawns for an authoritarian government. The film's politics may not satisfy everyone's sensibilities, whereas its lack of conventional cop film formula elements may unsettle some. But for the most part, this is a high-concept, high-octane thriller that delivers the goods.
Apr 10, 2021 By Sreejith Mullappilly

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In Martin Prakkat's taut new thriller Nayattu, Kerala Police staff members are mere pawns for an authoritarian government that controls the state law and order. The film makes that clear when Joju George's Sub Inspector Maniyan goes to plant evidence against a young man on a minister's order. Goons who do quotation work can accept or decline their work orders, but we cannot do it, says Maniyan.

The SI character has been in service long enough to know that what he does is a thankless job. So, when he gets into a heated exchange with a person to help a colleague at the station, it provokes the Dalit community. The cops and Dalits exchange threats and swear words as someone shoots the incident. A later incident turns the state's political forces against the hapless cops. The hunter then becomes the hunted as a chase ensues.

Nayattu (Malayalam for The Hunt) is a political allegory cum police procedural disguised in the form of a chase thriller. The beauty of it is that it does not even have one unnecessary scene. Mahesh Narayanan's sharp editing lends the movie a good amount of brevity, whereas Akhil Alex's background score gives it an unnerving sense of doom and despair. If virtually every scene in this film is fraught with tension, it has a lot to do with that score. Shyju Khalid's camera not only captures the animosity and angst on the faces of the characters, but it also puts us right in the middle of the action. Yet what works best here is Shahi Kabir's uncompromising script, and Martin Prakkat's treatment of it.

Early in Nayattu, there are many seemingly routine scenes that give us an idea about what these cops are like in their personal lives. There is a scene about Maniyan and one of his family members, which I initially felt is somewhat routine. But those key pieces of personal information return as the film races to a thrilling climax.

Nayattu would not have been a thrilling experience without the performers. Nimisha Sajayan's cop character Sunitha has a sense of angst right from the start of Nayattu. It is like she has always been aware that the system can easily turn against them. Nimisha conveys her character's feelings with very few dialogues. You could say the same about Joju George as Maniyan. He powers through the role in his customary style. The only fear I have for Joju is that he is getting typecast.

Kunchacko Boban's Praveen Michael is a reflection of our morality and conscience as well as the voice to our frustrations. Late Anil Nedumangad impresses with his usual small-yet-powerful moments here, whereas Jaffar Idukki is perfectly cast as an authoritarian CM.

Nayattu is not without its minor issues, though. Some would find the portrayal of the Dalit community's issues and politics about those to be somewhat problematic. Some may even find the film's ambiguity in its concluding act a bit frustrating. But for the most part, this is a high-concept, high-octane thriller that delivers the goods.

Sreejith Mullappilly



A must-watch realistic thriller that breaks the usual Mollywood cliche ending.