Hridayam Movie Review: Nostalgia is the USP
Cast: Pranav Mohanlal, Darshana Rajendran, Kalyani Priyadarshan
With Sunday lockdown in place and theatres in Trivandrum being asked to shut down, Malayalam movie Hridayam seems to run successfully without being affected by any of these factors. Thanks to the pre-release hype, good marketing, and yes, good story-telling, Hridayam is winning hearts all the way.
I was initially excited when the film was announced back in 2019. The cast was refreshing and the word that Vineeth Sreenivasan is directing had my hopes high. The hype surrounding the film had started building right since then. But with the trailer and teaser and some songs released, my expectations started to follow a downward graph. But I guess Vineeth knows how to keep up with people’s trust and after watching Hridayam, I was satisfied.
Hridayam follows the life of Arun Neelakanthan from age 17 to 30. The film explores his days in college, romance, breakups, moving on, and everything that makes a mature adult out of him.
The film starts with Arun joining KCG Tech, a popular engineering college in Chennai. The first half of the film navigates through the four years of his college life, the friends he makes, the love he develops, and so on. For me, this part, however, felt a little old school and cliched. Director Vineeth Sreenivasan had said in an interview that the college life depicted in the film is heavily inspired by his experiences at KCG Tech as a student. Since he graduated somewhere around 2006, I assume the old-school tone to the narrative might be due to the same.
Darshana, a fellow batchmate, catches Arun’s fancy and he instantly falls in love with her. The proposal scene in the film (which was also shown in the trailer) comes off as rather unromantic and unexciting. Despite the setting where the proposals happen, it just did not strike a chord. As the movie progresses, I started to develop a disliking for Darshana. The way the character develops in the second half is not something I was rooting for. But thanks to Darshana Rajendran’s luminous performance for holding up the tripping character and preventing us from hating the character. In the end, however, we are made aware of why the character was written so. The film tries to make a point and unfortunately, it was Darshana’s character who had to compromise for that.
Enter Kalyani Priyadarshan’s Nithya in the second half and we are in for a treat. The relationship that Arun and Nithya have is so vibrant, lively, and youthful. The film had me hooked from the second half. The only complaint I have would be about not showing enough of their romantic moments. They jump to the wedding straight away. Ah, the wedding! It was the most beautiful movie wedding I have ever seen. I am just leaving that for you to see.
Kalyani is perfect as Nithya. She simply lights up the screen with her vibrant presence. But Kalyani needs to level up and explore more of herself as an actor as there is a high chance of her getting type casted as the ‘bubbly-girl-next-door’ character.
Talking about the man himself, Pranav Mohanlal, he may not be phenomenal as Arun Neelakanthan but sure is satisfactory. He could finally shed off the baggage of expectations thrust on him for being the son of a superstar and express himself as he is.
Hridayam has fifteen songs to its credit. It may sound a bit too much but luckily the songs have been placed well, making them a part of the story itself.
The theatrical experience does add a sense of grandeur to the whole feeling and we leave the theatre feeling happy and satisfied.
Image Courtesy: YouTube