Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review of Puthiya Niyamam (പുതിയ നിയമം)

Image Courtesy: Official Facebook Page of the film
Cast: Mammootty (Adv. Louis Pothen), Nayantara (Vasuki Iyer), Baby Ananya (Chintha), Aju Varghese (Romanch), Sheelu Abraham (DCP Jeena), Rachana Narayanankutty (Kani), SN Swamy, Sadiq
Directed by: AK Sajan
Produced by: P Venugopal, Geo Abraham
Written by: AK Sajan
Music by: Songs – Vinu Thomas; Background Score – Gopi Sunder
Cinematography: Roby Varghese Raj
Edited by: Vivek Harshan
Production Company: VG Films International
Distributed by: Abaam Movies, Popcorn Entertainments (Asia Pacific)
Release date: 12th February, 2016
Language: Malayalam
Duration: 2 hours 13 minutes

Puthiya Niyamam (പുതിയ നിയമം) has indeed created a new benchmark for the Malayalam films. Written and directed by AK Sajan, I could find an evident similarity between this film and Drishyam. It outperforms Drishyam, which was a superhit film. Story of Drishyam was beyond right / wrong, and it dealt with how an individual deals with the situations in crisis, especially when family was involved. Puthiya Niyamam highlights the wrong (s) of our society and how ordinary people, when victimized, evolve to fight the situations. Here also, the protagonists’ rights may not be the ‘rights’ of law, and that is how, the name of the film is in sync with the plot i.e. to frame new laws. Social evils viz. drug addicts, sex maniacs etc. are shown through different characters, who can do much damage to the society. The story builds up gradually, but keeps the audience glued on to the screen. Even though, no suspense is revealed in the first half, the screenplay certainly generates curiosity in audience. In comparison to Drishyam, it has fewer lighter moments, but it is indeed a crime thriller, which would make you watch the same with bated breath.

The film begins with the narration of Chintha (Baby Ananya), who introduces her parents Vasuki Iyer (Nayantara) and Louis Pothen (Mammootty). Vasuki is shown with a sling on her left hand. Chnitha says that her mother has changed, and she often gets embarrassed by her strange behaviour. Vasuki is a Kathakali dancer, who has changed offlate from a fun loving cool person to an absent-minded, gloomy and brooding person. Vasuki causes embarrassment to  Chintha when she blasts the caretaker of her school bus, when he tries to help Chintha ride the bus. Vasuki even forces Louis to buy a new car just to pick up and drop Chintha to school. Chintha keeps on asking Louis in regard to why and how her mother changed.

Nayantara as Vasuki (Image Courtesy: Official Facebook Page of the Film)
 Chintha introduces Louis to the audience, according to her, he is a cool celebrity and just opposite to Vasuki. He is a TV anchor as a film critic, and also an advocate, who is specialized in divorces. He is shown as a very light-hearted person, who has good sense of humour.

Louis and Vasuki had an inter-caste marriage which resulted in their families shunning them. Louis is also conscious of the change which has happened in Vasuki’s behaviour, but he tries to keep her in good humour. Vasuki is very particular about things.

Mammootty (Louis) with Baby Ananya (Chintha): Image Courtesy - Official Facebook Page of the Film
The first half is used to build the story in a gradual manner. Other characters are introduced in a very natural manner be it the entry of DCP Jeena (Sheelu Abraham) or Kani (Rachana Narayanankutty). DCP Jeena is supposed to be very particular to bring law and order in the city and also be in favour of people in need. Kani is also a news anchor, who lived in the same complex as that of Vasuki and Louis. Kani at times openly flirts with Louis. Sadiq is shown as a teacher, who is being awarded for his good teachings to the students, but is he able to give the same upbringing to his child? Role of SN Swamy is pivotal to the plot, let me not reveal it.

Louis is shown to be a divorce lawyer, who, on the contrary, believes in marriage. He tries to convince his clients to save their marriage through his logics, blunt questions and at times even through counseling. He does not take up cases just for the sake of money. He is constantly shown to be dealing with various clients which again and again reiterate his thoughts about marriage. Aju Varghese makes an interesting entry as Romanch, who is also seeking divorce.

The second half of the film unfolds the reasons behind why Vasuki changed. What actually happened which changed her life forever? What sort of heinous crime happened? How does she respond to the happenings? Is she able to grow beyond the current situations and able to overcome her own moods? How does Louis become part of her journey? Is Vasuki able to gain herself back? What is DCP Jeena’s take on Vasuki? How various events unfold? How justice is sought ?

The film will definitely leave you with pain in your heart for the kind of social evils happening in and around us. Nayantara is in terrific form. She looks very beautiful. She has done complete justice to the grief-stricken Vasuki. Mammootty’s performance as Louis is also very good. He keeps the suspense element alive till the last moment. Baby Ananya is also good. Rest of the cast has also done justice to their respective characters.  

The background score of the film by Gopi Sunder is absolutely perfect as per the tone of the film. The backdrop of Vasuki being a Kathakali dancer also goes well with the plot. Probably the first half could have been a bit more fast.        

Puthiya Niyamam (പുതിയ നിയമം) is a must-watch film, talks about the social evils of our society, and how social evils can turn somebody’s life completely topsy turvy. Watch it for the way the story is dealt and also for terrific performances of Nayantara and Mammootty.

Rating : 4 / 5 (Very Good)