If I have to choose a favourite film amongst the Malayalam releases of 2021, I will have to pick the Martin Prakkat film Nayattu. This film is written by Shahi Kabir of Joseph fame and stars Joju George, Kunchacko Boban, Nimisha Sajayan, Yama Gilgamesh, Jaffer Idukki, the late Anil Nedumangad and others.
As to why this film becomes my favourite film of 2021 so far, the reason is pretty simple and straightforward: the content, the theme and the treatment. Shahi Kabir has written a brilliant script that exposes how the system plays a big role in turning innocent individuals into culprits. The film shows us how three police officers get framed for the death of a Dalit individual and how society becomes the villains in their life, which in turn leads to society believing that these policemen are murderers.
Shahi Kabir, being an individual who has served the police department in Kerala, naturally has a first hand experience as to how the system works. Using his experience, he has created three honest policemen in a corrupt world, who struggle to prove their innocence. By creating instances that are plausible and with certain hard-hitting dialogues, Shahi conveys that he has a statement to make against the system in the country and how there is a need to bring a change in it. These hard-hitting statements are conveyed through very simple dialogues. It’s the words used in these dialogues that make them powerful rather than the tone in which they are delivered. The film also shows how policemen, being the hunters of truth, can become the ones who will be hunted just for political gain. Martin Prakkat’s brilliant direction just adds more grace and beauty to the film. His very natural approach to the story makes Nayattu a brilliant watch. With each of his directorial ventures, we see that Martin is evolving as a fine filmmaker and never follows the same style of making. The film’s brilliance also lies in its excellent technical department and some stellar performances by the cast.
The actors deliver nuanced and natural performances. Kunchacko Boban was brilliant in this film. He gets into the skin of the character brilliantly and delivers a very natural performance. Joju George’s career took a different turn since Joseph and he has evolved into a fine character actor. In Nayattu, as well, he plays the role of ASI Maniyan elegantly. He conveys the internal conflicts and the mental stress of the character effortlessly. His excellent portrayal of the character made the audience connect to the character so much that when Maniyan is sad, the audience is sad, and when he is angry, the audience too is angry. It’s Nimisha’s performance, though, that deserves special appreciation. Since her debut film, Nimisha has proven that she is an outstanding performer. In Nayattu, the dialogues she has for the entire film wouldn’t exceed a page or two. Her character exists in the background and the character development is done through reactions and expression. This is a highly difficult task but Nimisha does it so effortlessly and cements the fact that she is an actress who can pull off any role with extreme perfection. The supporting cast too does such a brilliant job. On the technical side, Mahesh Narayanan‘s crisp editing, Shyju Khalid‘s beautiful cinematography and Akhil Alex’s chilling background score play a crucial role in this film.
Nayattu is a film that stands out the most because of its unconventional storytelling manner. The climax is the one portion of the film that got mixed opinions, mainly due to its open-ended nature. It is a film that is a thriller, but does not follow the usual template of a thriller film. It is a film that shows the politics in a state and how the politicians use their power for their benefit, by making policemen turn against each other and perform duties that do not match their personal ideologies. Nayattu is an excellent film that makes us, as a society, introspect and understand the evils that rule us. It definitely is a must-watch film for its cinematic experience.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.