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The story of a 12 year old boy who sells guppy fish for a living in his colorful beach side colony. When an engineer is summoned to construct a bridge, the contrasting characters cause great tension and turmoil.
The equation of Raghu and his son Abhi passes through various stages, and Raghu his son making the mistakes he did once. With a bit of help from someone new in their lives, the family passes through a turf of transformation.
Manu's boss in an IT firm is Priya, an evil woman, who verbally abuses and criticises her subordinates. However, Manu's life takes a turn when Priya forces him to act as her husband to avoid going back to Australia.
Sujatha, who juggles menial jobs to afford her daughter's education. But her daughter neglects studies, thinking that she'll end doing odd jobs just like her mother. Things take a comical turn, when Sujatha does something out of the blue.
How an upper middle-class, slightly dysfunctional Christian family deals with the scenario of the mom character developing breast cancer, narrated in a thoroughly feel-good, jovial manner is what 'Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela' is all about. While there's not much newness to boast of in terms of storyline, the endearing performances from the ensemble makes the movie worth watching.
We do see a good bunch of 'Premam' actors returning in some role either on or behind the screen. For instance, the movie is directed by Althaf Salim, the guy who play's Mary's friend in 'Premam', while Mary's boyfriend is the co-writer (along with the director) and plays a minuscule role in the movie as well. There's Siju Wilson and Krishna Sankar in prominent supporting roles. Oh yes, Sharafudheen pops up in the second half to kindle a few laughs.
While the makers would like to market 'Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela' essentially as a Nivin Pauly vehicle, this movie doesn't solely ride on his charm. When Sheela (a returning Shanthi Krishna who still retains her mature-woman appeal at 52) is diagnosed with breast cancer, her husband Chacko (Lal) undergoes sleepless nights. Their son Kurien (Pauly) flies all the way down from London but is not exactly told the reason for his urgent home-coming which he misinterprets as a plan to get him married.
The scene-stealers here are Lal who is in terrific form, Saiju Kurup as Sheela's oncologist who makes us smile/laugh with his responses to the queries from the family members and lastly, K L Antony Kochi (who we saw earlier in 'Maheshinte Prethikaaram') playing the grandpa who mouths some non-sensical lines. The theme (on cancer diagnosis and treatment) is in fact a grim one, but the writers do not wish to unleash a truckload of sentiments on the viewer and make them seek tissues. Instead, they cleverly conjure up a tale that is pretty even in terms of its humor, romance and realism.
The movie even questions the ethics of Kurien getting involved in a romance (with a girl he meets at the cancer centre, of all places) while his mom is at the peak of her ailment. But the approach taken by the makers is fresh enough not to make it seem like some grave offence. Ahaana, Srinda and Aishwarya Lekshmi manage to do justice to their respective roles although they are not really the most memorable ones.
Nivin is fantastic in his lazy-boy persona (the comic timing is awesome too!) while he is found to repeat some of his lover-boy expressions from earlier films. However, even in his home production, he doesn't seem to find it problematic when scenes are stolen from right under his nose by his co-stars. On the downside, there's absolutely nothing unpredictable about the movie. Even the stretched climax serves little purpose. While some of the clichés we usually associate in a comedy/drama such as this are subverted neatly, some seem too integral to the plot to be done away with. P.s - I was almost instantaneously reminded of the movie '50/50' and the way it projected the vulnerability as a positive outcome of becoming a strong-willed survivor.
This movie is bound to impress most film-goers for its confident acceptance of inherent goodness in human beings and the maintenance of an overall positive vibe even during the most trying of times.
Verdict: Breezy performances and feel-good factor major pluses in an otherwise foreseeable screenplay!
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