1001 Nunakal, in a nutshell, has that “moral of the story” kind of vibe to its credit. But this film from Thamar K.V. has a very organic way of building a scenario that could have looked very forceful. I am someone who found 12th Man a little bit hard to be convincing as the script was forcing the characters to do stupid stuff. If you also felt the same way about that film, I think Thamar’s social critique will work for you as it smoothly places the conflict to convey a realistic drama.
The movie is set in the backdrop of Dubai. A fire accident happened in a flat tower, and some of the people whose flats got damaged in that accident sought shelter in their friend Vinay’s house. Coincidentally, the next day marked the wedding anniversary of Vinay, and everyone who was there decided to leave only after the anniversary celebrations. A game they chose to play during the celebrations doesn’t go the way it was intended, and how that disrupts the dynamic among them in what we see in 1001 Nunakal.
The game they play is about the lies they have told their respective partners. At first, you might feel it will have a predictable one-dimensional beat. But surprisingly, Thamar isn’t trying to create humor and tension using the lack of trust factor. Even the simplest lie that happens at the very beginning portion of the game is presented differently. And each “lie” is used to explore a different set of characters and their world. You are witnessing the equation of five couples in the movie, each with a distinctive nature. The film exposes the fake happy faces of a conventional marriage in a more empathetic way rather than making it too much of a celebration of marriage WhatsApp jokes.
Thamar prefers a relaxed tempo to narrate the story, and hence almost all the frames in this film are very spacious and softly lit. Almost like Bash Mohammed’s Luka Chuppi, there is that emphasis on conversations that are humorous and, at times, extremely emotional and sensitive. As I already said, the smart part about 1001 Nunakal is the way Thamar manages to keep the game alive in a believable way despite the characters getting to know the risk involved in it. The group they have created is a good mix. From a newly married, woke young woman to a highly conservative pregnant lady, Thamar tries to include almost all perspectives. It helps the movie to deviate into some interesting conversations. The placement of the subplot featuring the character played by Remya Suresh is actually a bit cheesy, but they managed to reduce that considerably in the making. Neha Nair and Yakzan Garry Perriera’s score lingers in your mind.
Apart from Vishnu Agasthya, Vidhya Vijayakumar, Remya Suresh, and Zhinz Shan, almost every other actor in the film is a relatively unfamiliar face, and they were all surprisingly good in their respective roles. The advocate who comes up with this lying game, played by Sudheesh Scaria, is terrific and gets many winning lines in the movie. Vishnu Agasthya gets a good space to perform in the film’s last minutes. Remya Suresh gets to play a character whose dilemma is conveyed mainly through expressions, and the actress was brilliant in pulling it off. Sooraj Kolasserry and Rashmi K Nair were really memorable as that childless couple. Sudeep Koshy, Anusha, Shamla Hamza, Niiniin Kassim, Sajin Pulakkan, etc., are the other names in the cast.
1001 Nunakal is a movie that uses unpredictability to establish the inner dynamic in each couple’s story. The structure of the film, in totality, is somewhat guessable. But by the time it reaches that phase, it manages to make us look at the whole thing as more of a character study rather than a whodunit. With Thamar and his co-writer Hashim Sulaiman managing to keep things on the subtle side, 1001 Nunakal is that unpreachy “message” movie.
With Thamar and his co-writer Hashim Sulaiman managing to keep things on the subtle side, 1001 Nunakal is that unpreachy "message" movie.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended