In his pre-release interview, Dhyan Sreenivasan had said that his new film, Nadikalil Sundari Yamuna, will remind you of the films of the ‘80s and ‘90s. The movie does try to evoke nostalgia, that too with a title taken from the lyrics of an evergreen song from the movie Anarkali (1966), composed by MS Baburaj. Those films are still alive in our memories, but Nadikalil…., written and directed by debutants Vijesh Panathur and Unni Vellora, cannot be put in that league.
The story is set in a picturesque village in Kannur, where local units of two prominent political parties have divided the residents. Kannan (Dhyan) and Vidhyadharan (Aju Varghese), a textile shop owner, are rivals. A temple festival and a ritual associated with it is the bone of contention in the beginning. Later, when both the bachelors start looking for brides, they find themselves at the same houses, thus escalating the animosity. Events take a serious turn when Kannan, egged on by his friends, makes a bet with Vidhyadharan’s gang that he would get married in two weeks. His party finds a bride for him from across the border, the beautiful Yamuna (Pragya Nagra). But there is a catch. The confusion and misunderstandings that ensue take the narrative forward.
Nadikalil Sundari Yamuna (Malayalam)
Director: Vijesh Panathur and Unni Vellora
Cast: Dhyan Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese, Nirmal Palazhi, Pragya Nagra, Bhanumathi Payyannur
Duration: 129 minutes
Storyline: A marriage turns the world upside down for Kannan and Vidhyadharan, two middle-aged bachelors and members of rival political parties
The Aju-Dhyan combo impresses. Dhyan breezes through his role with his innate laidback attitude, which he flaunts in his video interviews. Aju, who has a serious demeanour, tries a new look with the use of prosthetics on his lower jaw and it works.
The supporting cast of Nirmal Palazhi, Navas Vallikkunnu, Unniraja, Aneesh Gopal, Kalabhavan Shajon and others have done their bit to create some laughs. It is refreshing to see a lot of new faces as well.
Since the movie is set in Kadambery in Kannur, the dialect is a highlight with all actors pulling it off with elan. Bhanumathi Payyannur, who plays Dhyan’s mother, is a delight, especially when she nails the dialect.
The makers have taken a dig at the turbulent political climate in Kannur.
Music (Arun Muraleedharan) and background score (Shankar Sharma) strike a chord, especially the new version of the Johnson classic, ‘Vellarapoomala mele’ (originally sung by KJ Yesudas) from Varavelppu, in the voice of Unni Menon. Cinematographer Faisal Ali has done justice to the verdant landscape.
In spite of all this, neither the film nor the characters stay with you when you walk out of the theatre. The second half starts off well but loses steam soon. Although there is situational humour, the jokes do not evoke laughter. You chuckle, that’s all. In fact, it is the dialect that has managed to save some of the scenes.
The film is a one-time watch, if you are in the mood for some timepass.
Nadikalil Sundari Yamuna is running in theatres.