Malayalee From India Review | A Heavy-Handed Political Satire Rescued by Nivin Pauly’s Performance and Its Relevance

Malayalee From India is the third collaboration of director Dijo Jose Antony and writer Sharis Mohammed. In terms of how these two present the drama in their story, there is this slightly outdated gallery-pleasing staging. At a time when the courts in movies started to look authentic, Dijo and Sharis made Prithviraj do all those political rhetorics, which sort of worked as an escapist entertaining idea. When it comes to Malayalee From India, the idea is to create a political satire that critiques the possibility of India becoming a religion-driven country. While the satirical aspects of the movie are funny, thanks to a free-flowing Nivin Pauly, the drama-rich final act of the film is still in that loud space.

Aalparambil Gopi is the main character of our film. He is this lazy guy with no plans, and his future is dependent on the success of the right-wing party that has a terrible track record in Kerala (no points for guessing which party) So this lazy, patriotic, anti-Pakistan man was forced to leave the country at one point due to a police case which has him as one of the main accused. What all happens in that journey and how his life transforms during the course of that is what we see in Malayalee From India.

What we have seen in the promo materials is happening mainly in the first half of this film. The political spoofing and the humorous take on various political events that happened in our country make that phase of the movie mostly entertaining and partially enlightening. Once the shift happens and we get to see the Aadujeevitham phase of Gopi, the movie starts to break away from the satire format. The decision to shift towards the humane side of Gopi makes the movie a very cliched film, and you could just see where it will end. When it reaches that predicted ending, Dijo and Sharis are trying to surprise the audience by pushing it a little too much, which wasn’t landing smoothly considering the spoofy satirical tone of the first half.

Nivin Pauly is in his comfort space in the film, and the character is mostly shown as this unlikeable lazy fellow. With all those counter dialogues and expressions, he felt like an apt choice and performed with ease. The portions of Dhyan Sreenivasan and Anaswara Rajan are pretty minimal. Manju Pillai was really effective as the mother who raised Gopi. The actor who played the part of the Pakistani superior of Gopi at the workplace was also really good.

I was not a huge fan of Janaganamana. It was a movie that had no subtlety in presenting its politics, and it was perhaps the spoonfed mass euphoria in the dialogues that made it a popular film. In a way, I would call Malayalee From India a spiritual sequel of Janaganamana. Sharis Muhammed has these political bullet points, and instead of taking the approach of a serious film, he and Dijo Jose Antony opt for the satirical approach. Whether to criticize or appreciate their decision to make it super clear to the layman is confusing. In a way, whatever is happening in the country is because a lot of misinformation is getting spread, and people just buy whatever comes their way. Sharis criticizes political forces like the BJP and SDPI, and he also makes sure to mention that countries that prioritize religion have always been doomed. The issue is that all these statements are pretty loud making it less impactful.

There is a sequence in the film where the Pakistani supervisor tells Gopi that the only thing he is envious about Gopi is his country. And we then get to see a montage of Hindu-Muslim unity. For me, such dramatization is cheesy, borderline cringe stuff. But looking at the success of similarly pitched sequences in Dijo’s previous films, I wasn’t really surprised the makers opted for such an approach. In Malayalee From India, Dijo Jose Antony’s acting skills have definitely improved, I can’t say the same about his filmmaking.

Final Thoughts

While the satirical aspects of the movie are funny, thanks to a free-flowing Nivin Pauly, the drama-rich final act of the film is still in that loud space.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.