However many ways there may be to phrase it, the truth remains simple: Fahadh Faasil is an absolute genius. And however many occasions there may be to corroborate the theory of his genius, a film like Njan Prakashan is one that celebrates it, and that too most remarkably.
In the film, Fahadh plays the role of Prakashan, a small-town nursing graduate with high hopes from life, but minimum effort to offer from his own end. Most of his time is spent loafing around, thus earning him the reputation of a work-shy good-for-nothing in the eyes of everyone but himself, who, with a sense of self now more conceited than ever, is yet to find a job that meets his calibre. He takes immense pride in his ability to plot and scheme, saying that God has given us intelligence to take advantage of opportunities, and often comes across as rather arrogant and manipulative. But though that mostly is the case, his vices are not without their own limitations. That is where the brilliance of Fahadh Faasil’s craft sets in.
P.R. Akash, as he now prefers to call himself, is barely a bad person. In fact, if anything, he is quite lovable. From beginning to end, to the actor’s credit, his mannerisms remain such that they do not let the viewer even for a second believe that this man is capable of any harm at all. Perhaps the maximum inconvenience he could cause anyone is by directing them to an incorrect address. When pointed at by a camera as he devours his meal at a wedding, he removes his hand from the table, stares elsewhere as if in deep thought about the state of his life, and puts on a display of utmost etiquette, barely even opening his mouth to let the food in, only to start stuffing it again once left alone. This one simple scene, acted out with tremendous subtlety, develops an instant familiarity with the character, and manages to set the tone for the rest of his journey. In another instance, when, in the second half of the film, the girl he nurses brings up a book he keeps mentioning, Fahadh puts his highly acclaimed eyes to work and P.R. Akash narrates the book’s plot with his own lit up. He gets mad when she interrupts him and teary-eyed as he reaches its tragic end, taking grave offence when she laughs instead of joining him in his sorrow. In these moments, it becomes clear how much the book means to him, and how much more the young girl’s happiness.
The film is filled with moments like these, each of them played to perfection by Fahadh. I enjoyed it thoroughly, for his portrayal of the oddity that is Prakashan was one pleasantly unlike the other darker roles I’d previously seen him play. In what is essentially a coming-of-age film, Njan Prakashan offers its protagonist room that extends beyond just his quirks and idiosyncrasies, making for a performance that is sensitive, endearing, and bound to leave a smile on your face.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.