Nayattu Malayalam Movie Review- A captivating watch
Directed by – Martin Prakkat
Cast – Nimisha Sajayan, Kunchako Boban, Joju George
To anyone who believes that Martin Prakkat’s Nayattu bluntly projects the Dalit community as potential antagonists, I beg to differ. In its entire run, Nayattu is more about the flawed political setup and less about antagonizing the minority caste group. In order to give a clearer picture, the director happens to add the Dalit vote bank politics in the frame, which only strengthens the entire narrative. When such a scenario where the marginalized are given a greyer shade, it should be considered just like the other gamut of discussion of minority representation and rights and not as a normalized underrepresentation.
It is not the entire community that has been on the greyer side but certain individuals of that community. And the reason to put these selected individuals on that side is not their caste but their manipulation of the rights they own. However, it is not where the spotlight is. The spotlight is on the three protagonists, who are themselves from different social and economic structures. Their struggle to escape from the maze created by the flawed electoral system is the focus of attention here.
The first half an hour of the film is a general introduction of the three protagonists, the three police officers. These three local police officers find themselves in a vicious trap after thirty minutes and their escape from this trap is unimaginable. But still, they give it a try, absconding to wherever they feel safe. How are the three protagonists related? Well, apart from being colleagues there is nothing more among them. Giving away more storylines would be no less than giving away major spoilers because that’s how intriguing the entire narrative is.
Considering Martin Prakkat’s previous works, Nayattu veers away from his usual style of storytelling. While Charlie and Best Actor were hopeful and endearing, Nayattu is a raw thriller and hard to watch without feeling a lump in your throat.
Though the shooting of the film had begun before the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it was completed by October, when the restrictions on film shooting were lifted. Despite the limitations, the film is shot in various locations across the state. It is not a colorful frame like you see in other Martin Prakkat movies. It’s pretty much dark and cold all around, and we feel it. It is beautiful how the frames captured the raw essence of the story, trust me that has made all the difference.
Nimisha Sajayan, who plays CPO Sunitha, doesn’t surprise us in Nayattu, maybe because we have seen her in more powerful roles. She has little dialogue throughout the film. The helplessness is conveyed through her eyes, and that’s most of what you see of her in the movie. For Kunchako Boban, this is just another experiment with versatility and he does that to perfection. Joju George is a treat, making us wonder he was all this time and why it took us so long to understand his true potential as an actor. He is inspiring as a loveable and desperate father as much as he is inspiring as a stern yet easy-going cop.
To tag Nayattu just as a social thriller would be a little unfair. It is a combination of several genres – police procedural drama, an escape flick, a political commentary, and so on.
But as a whole, the movie is fresh in content and a must-watch. At times when Malayalam cinema is finding it hard to keep up with the audience, Nayattu is a sigh of relief.