From the moment its trailer got aired in January the expectations were sky high about Mahesh Narayanan’s Take Off. After watching the movie I can confidently say that Take Off is a brilliantly made film that will keep you engrossed to the screen. With layers of human emotions and sentiments embedded inside the story in a very realistic way, Take Off manages to push its territory beyond a rescue mission thriller.
Sameera is this divorced nurse who is now living with her family in Kerala. As the liabilities of the family needed to be cleared the girl was working in a hospital which wasn’t giving a deserving salary. She finally manages to get a job in Iraq and even after it being a war zone, she and her colleagues decides to go there as the payment was much higher. The unfortunate turn of events that puts them in a stranded scenario and how they all finally managed to escape from the mayhem is what Take Off dealing with.
The movie is apparently based on a real life incident and we can see the real life characters and diplomatic level details during the end credits. Mahesh Narayanan and script writer P V Shaji Kumar skillfully infuses a story within this premise. We have a heroine who is fighting against male supremacy. She is fragile emotionally but has a great will power to live for the ones she love. There is a selfless love story between Sameera and her love interest Shaheed. There is no sense of cheesiness in it and that is one reason why we root for those characters towards the end of the film. With a slow paced movie shifting its gears to the top very smoothly toward the end with intense moments, Take Off becomes an engaging thriller.
Mahesh Narayanan has made sure that the events unfolding in front of us aren’t too theatrical. He treats the first half of the film from Sameera’s perspective and the tempo of the film is slow in those portions. Shaji Kumar and Mahesh Narayanan expertly plants a story that teases the orthodox class in the Muslim community that restricts women and at the same time Shaheed becomes the answer to that question with his progressive mentality. From religious symbols to self determination many of the characters in the film gets an identity. Mahesh Narayanan along with his cinematographer Sanu John Varghese makes sure that the film never fizzles away from its realism and the frames are great examples of that. The frames aren’t desperately trying to make the film look a visually elaborate one. But with the color palette and also very impressive production design along with quality visual effects that looks blended, the canvas of Take Off becomes bigger and effective. The edits are gripping and the background scores manages to create the much needed Goosebumps. The songs were also quite effective.
When it comes to the performances Parvathy in my opinion has delivered her career best performance. Unlike Kanchanamala and Tessa, Sameera is more real and raw. The character had many shades and even after being sensitive she was courageous enough to handle the situation. Parvathy’s portrayal had all these elements and like I said earlier, you tend to root for that character. Kunchako Boban underplays the role of Shaheed very neatly. There is naturalness in his dialogue delivery which adds to the progressive nature of Shaheed. Even though he is only appearing in the second half of this film, Fahadh Faasil leaves a really good impression in our minds as the effective and deterministic embassy officer Manoj. There are many more characters in the film including a cameo by Asif Ali and they all looked perfect for the role.
On his directorial debut Mahesh Narayanan has made a film that gave me almost the same feeling I had when I first saw Rajesh Pillai’s Traffic from theaters. This movie being a tribute to that talented director, a comparison with Traffic itself is an achievement I guess.
On his directorial debut Mahesh Narayanan has made a film that gave me almost the same feeling I had when I first saw Rajesh Pillai’s Traffic from theaters.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended