The events in the movie Nayattu is happening over a span of merely 48 hours. But the depth to which the script of the film goes to show us the dangerously compromised system is simply brilliant. The magnitude of the events get escalated in an extremely believable and swift way, and the end result was a shocking insider view of the system, and that pain stays like a lump in the throat.
The film here revolves around the life of 3 police officers. Praveen is relatively new to the force. Maniyan is a veteran who is a bit short-tempered. And Sunitha belongs to a financially backward family and wants to have a stable life. These three officers’ lives took a drastic turn when they got involved in an accident case where a person from the minority community gets killed. With an impending election under the nose, the Government easily frames them as the culprits of the case, and the film shows us their effort to prove their innocence.
Shahi Kabir, who has written the script, is actually taking us closer to the way the police system functions. He isn’t really justifying the attitude of police officers. Maniyan, the character played by Joju George, will stay with you even after the movie has finished. But he isn’t a character who is perfect. He uses official privileges for his benefit, and there is that masculine controlling nature somewhere inside him. And we also see Maniyan aspiring to be a perfect father in his own way. Through minimal dialogues and glimpses, we are shown the history and backdrop of these characters who are getting hunted. The natural progression of events is also something they have captured so brilliantly.
The title of the movie is Nayattu, and by the time we finish the film, there is that scenario where you can sense the difference between the hunter and the hunted getting minimal. At one point, the character played by Late Anil Nedumangad tells his superior that if we don’t obey the orders, we are also just like them. And there is a visual of this lady police officer helplessly looking at Sunitha as she knows the harsh reality behind the political drama. There is a moment towards the climax of the film where a blind woman comes to vote, and that scene created a certain level of numbness from which you would struggle to come out. The shock it generated was somewhere similar to what I experienced after watching Vetrimaran’s Visaaranai.
Unlike his other films, Martin Parkkat has opted for a highly rough texture in presenting this movie. He doesn’t want the film to have much of a break or breathing space. So you can see almost every scene in the film opting for a longer take rather than showing us closeups and reaction shots. There is that road movie kind of feel to these characters’ journey, and this particular edit pattern with minimal cuts improved that feel and created a raw outlook to the movie. Shyju Khalid, whose filmography has movies with “beautiful” looking shots, this time has opted for a less glossy take. Yet, there are some striking visuals in the film that convey the emotion of the scene. The background score was minimal, and whenever it was used, it had a significant impact.
Joju George manages to make Maniyan feel different from the police characters he has played off late. Maniyan has his flaws, but he is also an empathetic human being. When Sunitha takes a stand in the climax in support of Maniyan, we also emotionally root for that decision, and I feel it was because of the way Joju had performed that character with sincerity. Kunchako Boban’s Pradeep was one character the actor underplayed very effectively. Even when he loses the cool, there is a certain level of restrain to that character. Nimisha’s performance was also on the minimal and effective side. The dilemma and angst were conveyed largely through their subtle expression changes, and these three were really good at it. Jaffer Idukki, as the cunning CM, was truly impressive. Anil Nedumangad was memorable in his role, and so was the actress who played the role of his superior.
Nayattu is a thoroughly gripping drama that will disturb you for sure. There are movies like Visaranai, Newton, etc., that exposed the corruption and compromises in the system in a deeply disturbing way. For me, Nayattu belongs to that category. Martin Parkkat brilliantly conceived the authenticity in the screenplay, and that makes this movie a terrific one.
There are movies like Visaranai, Newton, etc., that exposed the corruption and compromises in the system in a deeply disturbing way. For me, Nayattu belongs to that category.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended