Qalb, the third movie directed by Sajid Yahiya, is basically yet another adaptation of the classic Romeo and Juliet template. I can agree with the fact that romance can be extremely cheesy for those involved in it. But even cheesiness has that guilty pleasure relatability that makes those movies hits. But in the case of Qalb, Sajid Yahiya and co-writer Suhail M Koya have aspirations of delivering something profound and aching. While they got the pain creation part correctly, sadly, the reason for the pain was the amount of cringe-inducing dialogues the audience had to sit through in those 150 minutes.
Leo Kaalpo, our hero, lives in a seaside place in Alappuzha, and he runs this cafe with his father. He has a gang of friends, and the plan of Kaalpo is to marry some foreigner and settle in some European country. That plan suddenly changed when a new girl named Thumbi came to the neighborhood, and Kaalpo fell for her. Thumbi, who has an abusive father, wasn’t really confident about the relationship. The ups and downs in that relationship and where it takes them is what we see in Qalb.
At the interval point of the movie, I could hear people in the back row mumbling, “We at least got free tickets, think about the others.” I belonged to that “others” category, and very frankly, I was moved by the empathy in that stranger’s words. The level of cringe was way too high that after a point, I was thinking about finding synonyms for the word cringe to reduce the redundancy of the review. Sajid wants to make everything cinematic and slow-motion, and he is just inserting moments one after the other. Many of the sequences in the first half have no major purpose, and the only reason one could find is that it just looks so cool on screen. The hero chasing a train on a bike to travel with his crush was just one of the many facepalm instances in the movie.
Ranjith Sajeev definitely has the looks to be an action hero. Chiseled muscles and the acrobatics surely make his punches believable. But when it comes to portraying vulnerable emotions like romance or grief, the actor in him is struggling. Neha Nazneen Shakil undoubtedly has the face of a naive girl, which feels like the requirement of the movie. But her dialogue delivery is clumsy, and the evident lack of grace makes the romantic scenes and songs somewhat a tiring experience. Siddique, as always gets the character’s grip and is the only actor who makes the scenes easy for the viewers. I used to watch the Chooral vlogs, which recently posted all their shooting experiences and frankly, I felt bad for those folks who, along with Kaarthik Shankar and super talented Ambi Neenasam, were reduced to just junior artists with zero purpose to the plot. Lena plays the role of the heroin’s mother, and the only other impressive performance, apart from Siddique, came from actor Ashiq who played the role of Thumbi’s father.
The problem I felt with Sajid Yahiya’s making is that he is deliberately catering to the audience, and for that, he is using the most outdated writing methods. You can just guess the end result of almost every scene, and the key actors are failing miserably to carry that much melodrama in their performances. In that pointless Mammootty worshipping theater sequence (which, btw, has a lot of logical issues), the hero sort of makes a superhero landing and looks at the heroine. I was like, “Nobody in the team told the director how much of an unintentionally comical thing that scene is?” Qalb is basically a two-and-a-half-hour-long exercise of you thinking about how a lot of people found these dialogues perfectly okay. The dolphin sequence, the dream sequence in the end, and the dialogue associated with that dream sequence are all supposed to be extremely romantic, but the emotion they created in me was different, and it definitely wasn’t pleasant. Most of the songs don’t really blend well with the movie.
The film’s foundation is obviously taken from Romeo and Juliet, and hence, you will definitely feel that it is much better than Idi and Mohanlal, Sajid’s previous movies. But other than the Shakespearian grief associated with the story, there is hardly anything in the film to appreciate. With the cliches in the story and dialogues making you wince multiple times, Qalb is a dragged mess that you just sit through.
With the cliches in the story and dialogues making you wince multiple times, Qalb is a dragged mess that you just sit through.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended