It's indeed a wonderful change that a fresh breed of promising young directors is marching into the fray. But I wish they were armed with remarkable scripts as well so that their genuine endeavors do not bite the dust.
Nallavan is one such film directed by debutante Aji Jhon, and it's evident that the youngster holds promise. The film is beautifully shot, and the visuals quite appealing. But as much as it claims to be a touching love story, it remains quite vague and fails to evoke any emotion in us. The content seriously suffers.
Kocherukkan (Jayasurya) and Malli (Maithili) have grown up together, and as two orphans who have been abandoned at two rich households in neighboring villages, their only delight in life is the midnight film show for which they sneak out together once every month. Obviously, they are in love, and where there is love there has to be hurdles. The hurdle in this case takes the form of a big burly policeman Kumaresan (Siddiq) who almost loses an eye to Kocherukkan's attack, as the couple tries to elope.
The film toys with some interesting ideas here and there but none of it really works. The characters for instance look like they have been cut out of cardboard and there is a lifeless feel to them throughout. And more important, the film never quite recovers from a monotony that kills the life of its proceedings.
Kocherukkan spends more time inside the jail than outside, so it's largely an in-and-out story that has its male lead fleeing from jail plenty of times. What makes the man do the unthinkable is his love for his sweetheart waiting for him. That's more on theory rather, because none of that passion is visible in the film.
There's no feeling of heaviness or consequence in the movie and most of the scenes seem like they are there simply because they don't have another choice. In this non-happening scenario, Kocherukkan keeps jumping the jail wall again and again, and a few scenes and a song later finds himself behind the bars again.
Jayasurya is adorable, and the earnestness of this young actor is quite obvious. It's not just the experimentation that he attempts on his appearance that's worth a mention here. He does try to get under the skin of the character that he portrays, and delivers the goods, even as the film doesn't. Maithili mostly giggles her way through her role, while Siddiq is brilliant as ever.
Nallavan tries hard to be a romantic tale and isn't it distressing then that the romance is absent? There is no attempt to provide some fresh insight into a formulaic story and this is the reason why it ends up being a lot more banal and a lot less perceptive than its makers apparently assume it to be.
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