Cast: Biju Menon, Saranjith, Nimisha Sajayan, Indrans
Director: Lal Jose
Filmmaking on a subject that is as sensitive as religions and beliefs is a tough task. Given the history of the audience’s response towards that sort of movies, filmmakers should be cautious. In Nalpathiyonnu (41), Lal Jose talks about religious beliefs, atheism and Communism. But here, he plays it safe by neither pleasing nor attacking any particular section.
Portrayed by Biju Menon, Ullas is a Communist party worker and out and out atheist who defies all kinds of religious orders.
Ullas is an epitome of stubbornness when it comes to sticking to his thoughts, to the extent of calling off his wedding to a religious girl. However, he is forced to accompany Kannan, a local goon and drunkard, to a pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple to help Kannan start a new life. But fate has something terrible in store for them.
Since the poster and trailer were released, the audience were expecting the recent Sabarimala issue and its political undertones to be the theme of the film. But for them, it would be surprising as it talks about the worst tragedy Sabarimala ever witnessed, the 2011 stampede.
In the first half there are a lot of interesting moments and Lal Jose plays it very safe by not getting into any controversial takes on religion or Communism and in a way, it really affects the movie. It fails to impress given the wide subject it talks about. At times it also loses focus. The goal was definitely a political satire, but it lacks depth in some areas. The on-screen performances are decent, but very clichéd. Biju Menon has set a standard of his own but could not see anything new in it. The same goes for Nimisha Sajayan who plays his opposite and there are moments when we feel that her role is not useful as it should be. Saran Jith, who plays the role of the drunkard, has done justice to his role and deserves applause. Bijibal’s music is good and gels well with the film.
There are moments we could see the old-fashioned way of storytelling which makes it dull at times, that you would not expect from Lal Jose.
But Individual performances and the interesting subject make it a one-time watch that talks about religious beliefs, its social manifest and many more with no room for controversies.