Neeyum Njanum is full of time-worn conventions, and is populated by actors whom we have seen suffering similar ordeal in different movies. The biggest problem of the movie lies in its inability to develop interpersonal relationship between the lead characters in tandem with the narrative flow. Hence, whenever an event of some import unfolds before us, the characters seem underprepared and their course of action ill-informed. From star-crossed couple, social commentary to mob justice and parochialism of village life, the film haphazardly incorporates the whole gamut of motifs into the story. But the passionless manner in which it goes about expounding them renders the characters uninvolved and movie goers incapable of making any connection.
A photographer by passion and a police by profession, yakub (Sharaf U Dheen) is head over heels in love with Hashmi (Anu Sithra). Yakub’s love is not reciprocated by Hashima who’s enraged upon learning that he is keeping tabs on her as part of police investigation on her Maoist activist brother.We also learn that she’s still not over her ex-lover. But Yakub the stock hero, and a self-proclaimed average kozhikodan, a title that really speaks for itself, will stop at nothing to get his way.
Following a series of strained one-way- street courtship sequences, ineffectually evoking the organic stalking scenes of Annayum Rasoolum, Yakub gets his girl. And in the process he quits his day job, gets deserted by parents, and sells his beautiful bullet to meet the post wedding expenses. More astonishingly, much of this is narrated in a song. Perhaps even more astonishingly, the couple move to a neglected old cottage that could easily have been the place where Fazil conceived the idea for Manichitrathazhu.
Hashima offers music classes to students at the new place. But the couple soon fall on hard times, and Yakub against his better judgement is forced to go to Dubai, leaving Hashima to fend for herself in this singularly creepy old house. Following Yakub’s departure, as if in a respectful nod to thousands of Malayalam movies containing the same theme, now alone heroine becomes suddenly exposed to all the garden-variety lechers and sexual predators in the village.
There are beats that surface conveniently conjured up to advance the plot. You hear loud mawkish music being generously injected to add a semblance of emotion to slow-motion scenes. Film has slow motion shots aplenty and for the most part, as characters watch their shakily built world fall apart, I started to wonder if it was better off leaving them in one of those slow-motion shots. In an infinite loop. The dramatic events in Neeyum Njanum unfolds with the arbitrariness of a funny breeze that does not particularly care about what others make of it.
Such was the off beat pacing of the drama and sketchy exposition of central events, the film left no emotional impact on me. As if in recognition of its own failure to keep viewers remotely engaged, the film gives you twist that again fired blanks on the emotional front. You see key parts of the story being influenced by dubiously motivated decision making of underdeveloped characters who would otherwise be of no relevance to the movie. The original intentions of the film may be noteworthy, but with its sloppy writing and overly long running time, the main characters never stood a chance to pull them off.
I felt Sharaf U Dheen was impressive at times but was mostly left crying out for a more intelligent screenplay. After all his character had very little to offer beyond the careless flippancy and melodramatic sequences that script offered him. Despite touching on socially relevant themes, Neeyum Nanjum seemed to go on like a cheesy broken record. And worst of all, the film had to rely on comic relief from irrelevant characters to keep it from being forgotten too soon. The fact of the matter is that nothing – not even Mohanlal’s flawless voice over, or the questionable twist towards the end can save the film from mediocrity. At nearly three hour running time, it can only blame a poorly fleshed out script for its failings.
A hilarious Dileesh Pothan’s impresses as an eccentric police guy in an awkward scene that elicited a chuckle or two. The only creative brightspot in an otherwise nondescript fare was the beautifully executed match shot towards the end of the movie. Well, best of luck if you plan on watching this movie solely on those grounds.