Saturday, September 19, 2015

എന്നു നിന്റെ മൊയ്തീൻ (Ennu Ninte Moideen) (2015)

Director: RS Vimal
Writer:    RS Vimal
Cast:       Prithviraj, Parvathy Menon, Sai Kumar, Bala, Lena, Tovino Thomas
Language: Malayalam

Ennu Ninte Moideen (Yours, Modieen) is a romantic thriller based on the real life love story of Moideen (Prithviraj) and Kanchanamala (Parvathy Menon), which happened in 1960s in and around Calicut. The director had previously portrayed this story in documentary form and with this film, he is making his feature length format debut, adapting the same story. 

I was not familiar with the story even though the director, in some interviews he gave this week, made it sound like it was a very commonly known story in these parts of the world. He made it sound like it is our own version of 'Romeo and Juliet' with the added bonus that it actually happened. Like in that one as well, it is tale of forbidden love. The villain in the story is their respective religions and the things that it imposes on people as societal norms. Both the characters hail from rich families and even their fathers are very thick friends. The first forty minutes of the film is quite excruciating to watch as they show how they fall in love. The two titular characters are portrayed predictably in a binary manner, as is the norm in Indian cinema, and I don't know if the director went for portraying that part of the film the way Malayalam films from those era would have portrayed it. I found it totally cringe-inducing and was really feeling miserable since the film was supposed to be three hours long. But things did change after that when they declare their love in front of their family members and it starts to get interesting.

It is interesting basically because what follows is not at all what we expect. Instead of the usual fleeing together (ഒളിച്ചോട്ടം), they just basically stay put and start wearing their family down. This is not done with the aim of getting consent but out of concern for Kanchana's siblings whose future could be affected by her decision. What follows is a wait lasting considerably more than what you would think it would be and it kind of reaches a point where the opposition to their marriage is purely out of inertia rather than anything. Good thing about the film is that most of the family members are not portrayed in the same binary manner and you do get the impression that they are just the prisoners of  societal conventions. 

Overall, it is a good watch, but they could have made it better by doing away with all the initial foreplay and get straight down to business. Prithviraj was cast in the film based on suggestion by the real life Kanchana and I read that she fell out with the director because of some deviations he made. It is difficult to believe the climax happened in real life the way it is shown. That scene and the the earlier court scene are something that you can see from a mile off. It is now a cliche in Malayalam period films set in this kind of period to have the protagonist as a rebel communist/socialist and this film is no different, but I guess it at least they have the excuse of it being biographical. Performances from all the supporting characters are really good and from the leads as well after the initial parts of the film. 1960s aspects of the film is done with some authenticity. Songs are well used to move the story forward and BGM also worked well I think, having paid not much attention to it. I read somewhere that its budget is a whopping Rs 13 Crores and I do think it will struggle to break even on that. They could maybe market it as a 1960s 'Love Jihad' saga and thereby generate some controversy to bring audience in. 

PS: I can suggest an alternate title for the film: 'Once upon a time in Monsoon soaked Calicut'. Coz its always fucking raining. 

Rating: 3/5