Vintage cars are often an overused prop, for the ease with which they can be used to bring in the retro mood. But in Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu, this prop gets an apt representation, becoming the reason for a chance meeting of two childhood sweethearts. Jimmy (Sharafudheen), an aspiring vintage car dealer, spots one such car on the road and follows it to meet the owner. As it turns out, it was driven by Nithya (Bhavana), whom he has not met in years, after being forcibly broken up by their parents.
Surprised smiles and a couple of awkward questions later, they part. The next meeting is equally awkward, but the years do not seem to have brought any distance between them. All this happens at a critical juncture in both of their lives. Jimmy, after much prodding from his family, has finally agreed to get married and has been growing close to Fida (Anarkali Nazar). Nithya, on the other hand, is about to get divorced from her abusive husband. The chance meeting changes all the equations in their lives. Their story comes to us through 10-year old Mariam (Saniya Rafi), Jimmy’s much younger sister and the film’s effervescent narrator.
Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu (Malayalam)
Director: Adhil Maimoonath Asharaf
Cast: Bhavana, Sharafudheen, Ashokan, Anarkali Nazar
Runtime: 125 minutes
Synopsis: Two separated childhood sweethearts are given a second chance to reconcile despite the odds stacked against them
In his debut, writer, and director Adhil Maimoonath Asharaf seems to have stuck to keeping it all simple. One could sense him steering away from anything that would complicate the narrative, for instance, the way the script navigates around an inter-religious relationship without ever explicitly touching upon that point. But at the same time, he does not stop from hinting at many a weighty issue while essentially telling the stories of people who have failed to achieve what they wanted at various points in their lives, due to societal and familial pressures, as well as their own lack of courage.
The story of failures begins with Jimmy’s father (Ashokan), who wanted to become a world-conquering athlete but settled on becoming a physical education teacher. Like many parents, he tries to live that dream through his two sons, whom he named after famous athletes. In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Jimmy breaks down and blames his father for never asking him whether he wanted to be an athlete. Most of Jimmy’s life decisions were made for the happiness of the rest of the family. Nithya has also sacrificed much in a nine-year-long arranged marriage. All of these characters are finally attempting to take control of their lives, before it is too late.
Bhavana, in her first film in Malayalam after a long gap of six years, plays her character with a lot of grace, portraying convincingly the character’s struggles and the strength of her convictions, while Sharafudheen manages to convey the pain of someone who had to do a lot of sacrifices. Even though things turn out to be somewhat predictable in the end, Adhil has managed to keep the film engaging mostly, with the over-dramatic background score being one of the few downers. Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu is a mature love story that is elevated by its performances.
Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu is currently running in theatres.
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