Director: Vineeth Kumar
Producer: Dr. T. A. Sunder Menon
Production Co: Sun Ads & Film Production
Music Director: Manu Ramesan
Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Renji Panicker, Mrudula Murali, Akshat Singh, Chemban Vinod, Dileesh Nair, Dinesh Nair, Jins Baskar, Jojo George, Noby, Sijoy Varghese, T G Ravi, Tiny Tom, Aileena Catherin Amon, Divya Pillai
Vineeth Kumar’s directorial debut ‘Ayaal Njanalla’ splendidly balances humour and pathos and presents before us an imaginative film, incited out of a brilliant thought. Delightfully fulfilling, ‘Ayaal Njanalla’ makes for a decent weekend watch.
Prakashan (Fahadh Faasil) works an assistant to his uncle (T G Ravi) who runs a decrepit tyre shop at Kutch. Having moved to Gujarat years back, Prakashan nurtures a dream of marrying Esha (Mrudula Murali) and of paying off his uncle’s debts. Hoping to sell off his ancestral property in Kerala, Parakshan heads to Bangalore to meet an old school mate Arun (Jins Bhaskar), where he is mistaken for a celebrity!
Director Ranjith’s tale is as bizarre as it gets, and this weirdness has a charm to it that instantly appeals. Vineeth, who has also penned the script retains this appeal to the hilt, and keeps it going with just about the right amount of frolic and fun.
There is the question of believability which comes to play in a story as this, and it could be easy perhaps to take sides and allege that things simply don’t work out the way it is implied in the film. But the slight element of probability that is left behind, makes this film an enjoyable one and one that would certainly keep you bemused.
There are plenty of instances which bring out instantaneous laughter, like the one when Heera (Divya Pillai), who has mistaken Prakshan for an actor, asks him about the actor’s wife. His retort is hilarious and speaks volumes of the tiny and yet ingenious thoughts that have gone into the making of this film.
The story is however not without a shortcoming in that there is nothing much happening here, and it hence gets invariably stretched a bit beyond its capabilities. A few characters are brought in like the film producers (Tiny Tom and Noby) wading through a financial crisis, and as much as they manage to evoke some mirth, do not much contribute otherwise.
It also appears at times that scenes are purposefully contrived to add to the running time, with a few of them at least having no implication whatsoever. There are the songs well, which have nevertheless been fabulously picturized.
The virgin locales of Kuch have been caught on camera in all their splendour, and the former half of the film is a visual extravaganza, as the idyllic cinematography gracefully languishes over the sun kissed salt farms and terrains of Guajarat. Shamdat’s splendid work does add a special sheen to ‘Ayaal Njanalla’ that makes it appear quite modish on screen.
Fahadh does a decent job of playing Prakashan, and is amply supported by Sreekumar and Jins Baskar, both of whom deliver credible performances. The girls are equally at ease with themselves, and both Mrudula and Divya look aptly cast as well. There is also Renji Panicker in what has become an almost typical role for the scenarist-turned-actor, and Tony Tom and Noby as well in short, but noteworthy roles.
Let’s have a huge round of applause for Vineeth Kumar who swaggers into the league of promising directors with his debut film. Employing some real economic and entertaining storytelling, Vineeth’s ‘Ayaal Njanalla’ remains wise, witty and downright warm.
2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good