Malayalam movies are taking to a new dawn, evident previously from movies like Ustad Hotel, 22 Female Kottayam, Ee Adutha Kaalath & Trivandrum Lodge. Bold film making, unique techniques and contemporary culture serve to these good movies.
Another addition to this slew of ‘New generation’ Malayalam movies is ‘Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla’. Been hearing mixed as well as negative reviews about the movie and it was only after seeing it myself I’d known why. Natholi aint for the casual Malayali movie-goer. So those who expect a mind numbing comedy/action movie would be sorely disappointed. As it was well said by a character in the movie itself: “Its going well as a family drama; please don’t drag action amidst this”. For all its worth Natholi is a wonderfully crafted Malayalam movie with its screenplay and monologues strictly digestible at a slow pace. I had qualms with it initially coz I was not used to it in Malayalam movies. Thanks to Shankar Ramakrishnan’s script often having infused tight Malayalam literature-esque dialogues it felt very fresh. Unlike V K Praskash’s ‘Beautiful’, which had a steady first act while the second act felt rushed, Natholi moved its own pleasant pace contributing its first act to a great deal of the protagonists’ character development and its second act for the fictional character he was ‘developing’/writing about. Humor was sprinkled gratuitously which was evident in the very first sequence. Heard people having issues about the end, that it felt abrupt but I found it amusing to have a finale like what I’d seen. Had it been a bit more Natholi would have felt like it dragged for more than 3 hours and would have tested the viewer’s bladders. And I believe that a movie is not judged by its beginning neither its ending. The narrative is what mattered most here and the story revolving around the dwellers of an apartment helped the film not stray from its plot.
Fahad Fazil, take a bow. This guy is unstoppable. He had been showing true versatility and sheer dynamism in the roles he has been cast and its no different here. He strikes an equal balance of comedy and antagonism here. Playing two different characters in the same movie is no easy feat yet he excelled in what he does best. Kamalini Mukherji was perfectly cast as the bitch-turned-mellow Prabha while Sathar, Aishwarya and Mukundan felt really appropriate for their roles.
Wonderful score by Bijibal added to the package. Having hummable definitive character themes helped alot to the experience. I’d been hearing a lot of dubstep in Malayalam movies these days and personally am not a fan either, but it was different here as it bestowed to the visuals. Abhijith’s music was also easy to the ears.
Yes, Its indeed unconventionally made and its definitely nothing to write home about. And despite the doubts of an original source in existence, V K Prakash’s efforts are nonetheless very noteworthy. Natholi aint your usual Malayalam movie, its a movie for the intellectual crowd I’d say with complex layers stretched over a very simple narrative ready to be interpreted. Shed your beliefs about conventional Malayalam movies, take it light and I assure you’ll love it.