The film, which saw the union of director Sathyan Anthikad and writer Sreenivasan after 16 years, falls back on old stereotypes.

Njan Prakashan review This Fahadh movie lacks the Sathyan-Sreeni magic
Flix Mollywood Friday, December 21, 2018 - 17:38

The teaser of Njan Prakashan had given a whiff of what the movie would be like. And if you hadn’t gotten the whiff, Sreenivasan’s voice-over is there to explain to you what kind of a person Prakashan is. The first many minutes, in fact, are explained in detail by Sreenivasan’s voice-over – Prakashan is that kind of man who gets a degree in nursing but considers it below his dignity to work as a nurse. He is the kind who changes his name to PR Akash ‘cause it is more fashionable. This was, in fact, done in an earlier movie by Sreenivasan, in which he plays Madhavan and calls himself MA Dhavan.

You get the picture. You have seen it all before. And Fahadh Faasil playing Prakashan looks and sounds a lot like Fahadh Faasil playing Aymanam Sidharthan in Oru Indian Pranayakadha, by the same director – Sathyan Anthikad.

The build-up was big – director Sathyan Anthikad and writer Sreenivasan were coming together for a movie after 16 years. The duo had made quite a few memorable movies in the past. We know it is going to be another story of a commoner, that’s what they are good at. It is a commoner’s story indeed, but it fails to make the kind of connection that their movies are famous for doing.

Prakashan is a bit of a fraudster but he is supposed to look adorable with his ways – the widening of eyes, the getting chased by a dog, that famous stand-up ride on a bike. It might have worked if it was all fresh. It’s not. You have seen him do that a lot and now it just looks like an act, another stage on which he has to perform the same old drama.

Sreenivasan keeps narrating the tale that is anyway running in front of us, till he appears on the screen as Gopalji, the man from whom Fahadh seeks help because of an old little debt Gopalji owes Prakashan’s father.  The repetitive references to this “debt” by Prakashan is simply tiring. Most of the attempts at humour are just a sad leftover of the kind of laughs Sreenivasan’s scripts once used to evoke.

Like how Nikhila Vimal, introduced as Prakashan’s ex girlfriend, keeps failing to understand the literary references he tells her when they reunite. This is so pathetic that you cringe when she asks him “Really, does sahithyam have vasana? (she doesn’t get the reference to something as simple as literary taste).”

Salomi – Nikhila’s character – is someone Prakashan had dumped when he knew she wasn’t rich as he thought. You can understand why he’d have thought so. She dresses posh, and not like the poor girl she is shown to be – living in a little house on a beach. Prakashan, however, changes his mind about her for a selfish reason and reveals his devious plans to the naive Gopalji. 

All the characters are written superficially, without any depth or originality. It’s like a series of skits put together. And Sreenivasan, who thinks it’s vital to explain the littlest of details with a voice-over, leaves it to the audience to guess why one of the important characters disappears halfway, in the way you least expect them to. 

Half-way through, we're introduced to a new family – a 15-year-old girl called Tina who is unwell and needs to be taken care of by a nurse like Prakashan. It has to be a male nurse ‘cause the girl is difficult. We know she is spoiled the way everyone calls the 15-year-old "Mol" throughout the film.

It is again supposed to be comedy when the girl lets out a ferocious dog that had, on previous instances, torn down nurses to pieces, so much so that they had blood oozing from their faces – as KPAC Lalitha, playing Tina’s caretaker, tells Prakashan. Anju Kurian plays Sruthy, who secretly passes on burgers – food that’s not allowed – to Tina Mol. Sruthy is another Sathyan Anthikad stereotype – a reminder of Meera Jasmine’s Anupama in Vinodayathra, giving life lessons to the clueless hero. Prakashan tells Sruthy who is always seen farming her vegetables, she is an inspiration.

There is also the familiar Sreenivasan touch at several places – the trashing of political workers as doing nothing useful, the preaching to young men to farm in their land than do menial jobs elsewhere.

The second half however feels more real than the first, helped mostly by the lovely performances of all the new characters. Tina Mol, her mother played by Meera Nair, Anju Kurian, all behave without the feared exaggerations and mouth their lines without the awkwardness of a newcomer. The movie itself would have felt more real, and as adorable as it was meant to be, if it were fresher, deeper and not the kind we've seen a dozen times before.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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