Mera Naam Shaji

In one scene in the movie Mera Naam Shaji, one Shaji played by Biju Menon gets out of his Jeep in Rohit Shetty style and gives a lecture on how to be a good woman to the character played by Ranjini Haridas. And the important lesson in his profound lecture was that women will know their place in the family only when they give birth to a child and making her pregnant is the only way to make her know her value. The audacity of the filmmakers here to make a hero say this and give him all the slow-motion mass masala decorations clearly shows how unaware our industry is about what misogyny is. Even if they delete that scene or dialogue, there isn’t much here other than a pile of skit jokes that won’t even stay in your head after a while. Mera Naam Shaji is an attempt to call a package of jokes as a film.

The plot here revolves around three Shaji’s. One is a goon from Kozhikode, one is a jobless aimless guy (Asif Ali of course) from Ernakulam and the last one is a taxi driver from Thiruvananthapuram. Things become a little bit twisted when the Ernakulam Shaji happens to receive a huge amount of money that actually belonged to Kozhikode Shaji. What all events happen when Kozhikode Shaji tries to get his money back is what the movie Mera Naam Shaji all about.

There are plenty of dialogue jokes here in this movie. The zone of such jokes are pretty much similar to that of Oru Pazhaya Bomb Kadha; you might laugh or giggle hearing it, but you won’t be really thinking about it later. If you think that this movie is about the confusions because of a name, then it’s not entirely true. It almost felt like they added this name confusion when they understood that the story wasn’t really catchy. And just like how I skipped the Thiruvananthapuram Shaji in the summary, there was no necessity to name that character Shaji. What is clearly missing here is the longevity and genuineness of the jokes; which was there in the other two Nadirshah comedies.

Biju Menon fails to handle the Kozhikode slang. His usual mass hero charm and the comedy timing is what the movie trying to capture the most and that has helped the movie for sure. Asif Ali yet again becomes that young aimless guy with relationship issues. Baiju is perhaps the only Shaji here who looks a bit fresh mainly because of the kind of goodness in the character, something that isn’t a character trait of any character played by Baiju. Nikhila Vimal is just there to be seen in some scenes as a sad girl. Even in that one song, her dance felt like somebody forced her to dance. As usual, Dharmajan is there to get the beating. KB Ganesh Kumar plays the role of a communist leader who says “Sakhave” a zillion times. Sreenivasan is also there as a vital character.

I think Nadirshah’s learning from the success of his last two films was that people will accept any lame story if you stuff it with comedy. But what he may learn after Mera Naam Shaji is that Bibin and Vishnu also narrated a story and their humor sort of stayed close to those stories. Here the jokes are forcefully incorporated. There is a “Paranari” joke involving Jaffer Idukki and I clearly don’t see the need for such scenes in this film. Dileep Ponnan as a scriptwriter is struggling to create any credible subplot and the movie depends too much on the improvised jokes from the actors. The patriarchal notion is clearly evident and the movie almost takes pride in having that tone. The visuals are average and it doesn’t feel like a movie where an effort was taken on how to conceive scenes.

When some section of the audience clapped for the Biju Menon scene I mentioned in the beginning, it reminded me of the recent Radha Ravi incident where the people who laughed and clapped for Radha Ravi’s pathetic comments were also criticized. As long as there are people to applaud for these kinds of scenes there will be a section of filmmakers and writers who will blatantly say crap like feminists are bitches and wife swappers.

Rating: 1.5/5

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Final Thoughts

There isn’t much here other than a pile of skit jokes that won’t even stay in your head after a while. Mera Naam Shaji is an attempt to call a package of jokes as a film.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.