The good-at-heart sacrificial hero who does everything for family and friends is a cliched character trope that we have seen a zillion times in Malayalam. At one point, everyone will question this character for something they never did. Anup Pandalam’s directorial debut Shefeekkinte Santhosham is one such story. The problem is that while most of the other melodramas had a solid conflict to create a credible script, Anup’s script ran out of ideas quickly.
Shafique Shamsudheen is our central protagonist, who works in the middle east. He is going to his home after almost 3 years as his marriage with Sainaba is about to happen. As he packed things, he decided to purchase some gifts for all those who helped him in the past. The trouble Shafique had to face due to one of those gifts and how it changed his life drastically is what we witness in Shefeekkinte Santhosham.
Looking at whatever happened in the film before the interval block, almost every event had this stretched-out feel and a sense of irrelevance. From using Bala’s raang and laagical thinking excessively to drowning the script in outdated melodrama, Anup Pandalam, without any inhibitions, shows us the scarcity of ideas in the content. The desperation to be feel-good and motivational leads to scenarios that weren’t really problematic in the first place.
Unni Mukundan tries to do the heavy lifting in the last quarter of the movie, where the script demands him to pull off a heartbreak. The script itself was a failure to establish a good romance between Shafique and Sainaba, and the heartbreak patch looked very odd because of that. I wonder whether Bala was a last-minute casting, as the number of his self-referential dialogues is too much. Divya Pillai plays the typical bubbly heroine. Sminu Sijo is that loud and angry mother character. Athmeeya Rajan was that predictable distraction. Rahul Madhav, as the police officer, acted like a caricature. Manoj K Jayan, Geethi Sangeetha, Krishna Prasad, Shaheen Siddique, and many others are there in minor character roles.
I don’t think the movie was built around an idea. An NRI character who wants to help everyone and make them happy might have been what made Anup Pandalam think about this movie. And he has created situations that would ultimately boost the good guy image of Shafique. The problem with hero-centric films is that it is trying to root for the hero constantly rather than creating sensible conflicts that will make the protagonist a relatable individual. Instead of creating a solid central conflict, Anup’s script is adamant about justifying the wafer-thin idea on which it is building the whole drama. Shaan Rahman’s repetitive tunes or Ranjin Raj’s background score can’t induce any emotional heft to this dull narrative.
The sacrifice of an NRI is a recurring theme in Malayalam cinema, and Shefeekkinte Santhosham is a miserably failed attempt to join that league. A scattered script that runs out of fuel very quickly makes the foundation of this family drama very brittle, and everything built over that looks flimsy.
A scattered script that runs out of fuel very quickly makes the foundation of this family drama very brittle, and everything built over that looks flimsy.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended