Nizhal, On Amazon Prime Video With Kunchacko Boban and Nayanthara, Is An Underwhelming Thriller With Interesting Ideas That Don’t Come Together

Kunchacko Boban and Nayanthara are in fine form but this is another example of how stars alone cannot make a movie.

Director: Appu N. Bhattathiri

Cast: Kunchacko Boban, Nayanthara, Divya Prabha

Nizhal didn’t work for me right from the first scene where we see a horrific accident and a horrific CGI bird. It shows that Baby (Kunchacko Boban) is a judge and he has a temper. But, he is also the sweetest person; you want to pinch his cheeks. The rest of the film keeps introducing new ideas: PTSD, a character which sees rain that nobody else sees, there are supernatural elements, there’s a Batman-like mask that a character who’s had an accident is using, there’s childhood trauma, a character who’s experience love failure in college and never comes out of it, and there’s a lot of stuff about the subconscious—but they don’t come together.

The central mystery is very interesting. It’s about a little boy who writes stories about an elaborate murder mystery (when his friends are writing about cats). But they turn out to be murders in real life too. The boy’s mother is Sharmila and played by Nayanthara. How does this boy know about these murders? That’s the central mystery that Baby has set out to solve.

But the answer, when it arrives, is very unconvincing. Even the lead up to it, which involves Sharmila and her son, is built up like a huge scene: there’s big music, Baby’s eyes widen in absolute horror and he sees something shocking, but we don’t feel that shock.

Even the ending is underwhelming because we’re introduced to a brand new character and he’s not been led up to in the film at all. I liked one scene that really worked for me: a woman who was supposed to marry one of the murdered men says that, perhaps, he is now speaking from beyond the grave—I wish I had seen that film. But this scene too, like most others in the film, exists on its own.

Kunchacko Boban and Nayanthara are in fine form but Nizhal is another example of how stars alone cannot make a movie.

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"Baradwaj Rangan: Baradwaj Rangan is a National Award-winning film critic. He has authored Conversations with Mani Ratnam and Dispatches From the Wall Corner. His long-form story on Vikram was featured in The Caravan Book of Profiles, as one of their “twelve definitive profiles.” His short story, The Call, was published in The Indian Quarterly. He has written screenplays and works for theatre. He teaches a course on cinema at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.."
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