Sunday, February 21, 2016

Movie Review: Puthiya Niyamam (Malayalam)

The Story Frame:

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Puthiya Niyamam is a family crime thriller. The story hovers around a happy family comprising of Louis Pothen an Advocate (Mammootty) and an all rounder in many terms, his wife Vasuki Iyer an acclaimed Kathakali artist essayed by Nayanthara and their school going daughter Chintha. It takes the audience through the happenings in this family which is quite unpleasant and how the lady in the family goes through the trauma and find ways to sail through difficult times. Puthiya Niyamam is about family bonding. It's message to the world is even the silence of the dear ones in your life conveys a lot. So listen to the untold!

Cast: Mammootty (Advocate Louis Pothen), Nayanthara (Vasuki Iyer), Baby Ananya (Chintha), Sheelu Abraham (DCP Jeena), Rachana Narayanankutty (Kani), Aju Varghese (Romanch), S N Swamy, Sadiq

Genre: Crime Thriller

Direction: A K Sajan

Produced by: P Venugopal, Geo Abraham

Production Company: V G Films International

Written by: A K Sajan

Cinematographer: Roby Varghese Raj

Music: Background Score by Gopi Sunder, Songs by Vinu Thomas

Film Editing by: Vivek Harshan

Distributors: Abaam Moviews, Popcorn Entertainments (Asia PAcific)

Theatre Release: 12th February, 2016

Language: Malayalam

Duration: 133 minutes
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 Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Puthiya Niyamam positioned as a crime thriller is quite natural to draw parallels with the much applauded film 'Drishyam'. It does match the acting skills and caliber of the cast of Dhrishyam but then falls flat in making it gripping and thrilling. The filmmaker and his crew have done an excellent paper work to make it look a thriller but the execution of the script on screen makes it appear forceful. There is a kind of desperateness in making the film and the events appear mind-boggling.

Puthiya Niyamam is a story about a happy family comprising of Louis Pothen Narimadan (Mammootty) who is multitalented - he is a movie critic who anchors a show called 'Kathrika' on TV, an Advocate specialized in divorce cases and is also known for his socialist leanings;  his wife, Vasuki Iyer (Nayanthara) is acclaimed as one of the best Kathakali artist; and their school-going daughter Chintha ( Baby Ananya) is much grown-up than her age.

Louis Pothen is a family man at heart and strongly beliefs that married life is all about sharing, mutual admiration and togetherness. He is a man who visits his family even when they didn't own Vasuki who is an Iyer by caste and not a Christian.

Louis Pothen is being appraised about Vasuki by Chintha that her mother these days behave very strangely. She is aloof, lost and is going through symptoms of forgetfulness. Though, Louis Pothen brushes aside his daughter's concern about her mother the viewers are taken repeatedly to different events where Vasuki behaves weirdly which at times appears unfounded initially. The whole first half is wasted on Vasuki's silence, fits of anger and mysterious paranoid looks. The audience are left to draw shapes in the darkness and are led to speculate while an old man (S N Swamy) often walking across Vasuki's colony road with a suspicious look and sometimes sitting in his balcony with a telescope pointed somewhere. It takes ages to understand what this man has to do with Vasuki's silence and when we come to know his side of the story it seems to be far-fetched and difficult to digest this man's weird silence. Let me restrain myself divulging much because I would like you to understand how botched the scenes are.

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Vasuki the protagonist has something to hide from her family   (which I don’t want to reveal) especially from her husband Louis Pothen because she fears that she will fall from grace. The mental trauma and the bottled anger in her finds solace in the newly transferred DCP Jeena Bhai IPS, who is the talk of the town and the new fancy of the print and electronic media because of her feministic leanings and her law abiding attitude. Jeena’s telephonic conversations with Vasuki accelerate the unfolding of events in the second half.

The youths in question in the plot are wayward and one of them is the son of a reputed and highly regarded school teacher (Sadiq) who is recently awarded for his outstanding services in the field of imparting value based quality education to his students. How is Vasuki connected to these youths? Do they actually have anything to do with Vasuki’s mysterious moves?
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Vasuki as a character in Puthiya Niyamam has many things to worry about viz: the seemingly growing proximity of Kani, a TV anchor and Louis Pothen’s colleague towards her husband; the talks of the local fish monger, fruit vendor and the apartment’s laundry man laden with highly sexual overtones; the hurriedness displayed always by her daughter’s school bus conductor in helping children physically to board the bus; and her nose to find out that people come to the apartment’s terrace to smoke weed.

What is the role of Louis Pothen in this whole seemingly not connected events? Is he in the dark? What happens to the youths in the end? These are some of the questions you would like to explore and find answers while watching the movie.

The climax of the movie for me was very unconvincing. The writer and the filmmaker try hard to justify the unraveling of events and people by bringing it on a single string by beading it together. It is so foolhardy of a character to use a software on mobile to imitate the voice of a senior police official and that too repeatedly; can anyone take instructions and execute multiple crimes without even meeting the well-wisher even once face to face; is it so easy to use a beacon, a siren and a police van and reach a colony where already people recognize you; how often can events and incidents coincide always timely and appropriately as per the plan; is it possible for habitual sex maniacs, drug addicts and repeat offenders to be driven to take extreme steps that may eventually lead them to death in a short span of time; how come a lone witness who is already scared of divulging the details in public be part and parcel of a crime though justified and glorified in the name of seeking justice outside the so-called constitutional procedures? What happens to the crime and the accused DCP Jeena Bhai mentions in the movie that she has zeroed in; isn’t it the responsibility of the storyteller to close the events mentioned in the film logically for the viewer’s sake?

Well, there are so many pertinent questions to ask and answers to derive, which I would resist to attempt to do just because it may not be fair on my part as a reviewer.

Puthiya Niyamam is a badly written script with excellent performances from the lead actors. Superstar Mammootty as Louis Pothen has the wit and humour intact. He is at his best. Nayanthara as Vasuki Iyer plays her role very well. She is one actor whom you can vouch for. Aju Varghese as Romanch, a divorce seeking husband is a waste and has nothing in particular to offer or add value to the plot. The background score by Gopi sunder is ok.

Overall, Puthiya Niyamam is a onetime watch only because of these actors’ spectacular performances, who to a great extent is successful in hiding the flaws of the script and its execution. The director, AK Sajan has taken the audience for granted and has tried to cash in the success of Drishyam and refurbishing it in a different way. And it seems his gamble has worked in his favor to an extent.
Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.75/5