Producer– Aji Medayil, Joe Kaithamattam, Christy Kaithamattam
Director– V K Prakash
Cast– Fahadh Faasil, Kamalinee Mukherjee, Rima Kallingal, Mukundan, Jayan, Sathar etc.
Music– Abhijith Shylanath
Background score– Bijibal
Review by:Unni R Nair (Kerala9.com )
V K Prakash this time takes you on a very different kind of journey; ‘Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla’, his latest, is a very different kind of film. So those who expect to find something like ‘Beautiful’ or ‘Trivandrum Lodge’ may not be happy with the film. I saw youngsters coming in expecting such kind of stuff, letting out loud applause during the first few reels and later, after half-time getting distracted and even talking and booing a bit. Not that the film is not interesting; it’s just that they perhaps didn’t expect what they saw and were not ready to think and enjoy. ‘Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla’ is a film that demands a bit of thought, somewhat intelligent thinking that most youngsters, who comprise the major chunk of the audience of the first few shows of VKP films these days, are averse to.
I personally liked the film- the narrative, the subject, the performances etc and I would congratulate VKP and writer Shankar Ramakrishnan for daring to do such a film.
Premkrishnan alias Preman (Fahadh Faasil) is the caretaker of an apartment building and he’s called by everyone as ‘Natholi’ (Anchovy). Everyone needs his help, but behave in a way as thrashes his self-esteem. Prabha (Kamalinee Mukherjee), the lady who lives in Flat no: 15 C is perhaps the one who is the most offending. Preman, who aspires to be a screenplay-writer, finds himself suffocating in that building. But then, one day, when things cross limits, he decides to run away. But instead of running away, he returns and decides to complete his writing. The pivotal character of his writing is Prabha and the supporting characters are the other inhabitants of the building. Then, he introduces a villain, whom he names Narendran (after the character played by Mohanlal in ‘Manjil Virinja Pookkal’, the hit-film, the release of which coincided with his birth and which has been his all-time favourite). Narendran (Fahadh in a dual role) makes his entry into the apartment and that changes things…drastically. Preman makes Narendran do all those things which he himself could never do. Preman is after-all the creator and Narendran his creation, so that works out; but, at a stage, Narendran begins to behave and act on his own and it’s from here that the story takes a twist.
The element of the writer creating a character to execute things that he himself cannot accomplish and then the character going out of the writer’s control is something different as far as mainstream Malayalam cinema is concerned. That makes ‘Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla’ interesting. The narrative, which presents everything in a light, humorous vein, helps you take it all lightly.
An interesting part of the film is the prelude-like scene, based on the Mahabharata and presented more like a farce. Well, you may say that could have been avoided and that the main fabric of the movie could have done without it. But there is no denying the fact that this prelude is humorous and interesting and connects with the main plot too, in an interesting manner.
I’d once again congratulate VKP, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Fahadh and all others behind the project for coming up with such a film. The producers too need to be appreciated…
Fahadh is simply brilliant. The young chap, who had cut a real sorry figure with his debut film a few years back, is now the most happening actor in Malayalam, in terms of the characters that he get to do and the excellence in performance he displays. It’s quite consistent indeed. He gets into the skin of the characters that he plays in the film with an ease that many other veterans don’t display. Kudos, Fahadh!! Kamalinee has done a good work as Prabha. All the others in the cast have done full justice to their respective roles, but I’d like to mention Mukundan, Aishwarya and Sathar specially.
Cinematography by Arun James, editing by Mahesh Narayanan and art-direction by Ajay Mangad suits the mood and tempo of the film in every way.
Bijibal’s background score is one of the highlights of ‘Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla’ while the songs, set to tune by Abhijith, also are good.
Shankar Ramakrishnan is having a great time in Malayalam Cinema. The director who turned script-writer with ‘Urumi’, is also making his presence felt as an actor, with films like ‘Spirit’ and ‘Bavuttiyude Naamathil’. While ‘Urumi’ gave him the scope to work out his writing skills in a different way, ‘Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla’ sees Shankar Ramakrishnan doing something real brilliant. He narrates the very serious plot in a funny manner, with humour making it all so interesting. He also displays his skill as regards characterization.
VKP has always been unpredictable. You just can’t say what he is up to next. He churns out movies one after the other- some hit the mark and some miss it; but, he goes on, as a director who plays a key role in changing the very face of Malayalam Cinema. ‘Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla’ of course has some elements (just a few of them) taken from VKP’s ‘Freaky Chakra’, but the film is a totally different on and very much worth a watch or two… Thanks, VKP for coming out with such an interesting film.
Verdict– Go relish it….this ‘Natholi’ is yummy!!