Writers: Syam Pushkaran, Dileesh Nair, Amal Neerad (Story)
DOP: Jayesh Mohan
Cast: Tovino Thomas, Aishwarya Lekshmi
Mathews (Tovino Thomas) is involved with the Tamil underworld and he kills a Police Officer inadvertently while making an escape from a hotel in Kodaikanal. He flees to Kochi where he is trying to hook up back with his girlfriend from college days, Aparna (Aishwarya), a struggling actor. Tamil Nadu Police has not backed down on his case and there is a sense of doom throughout the film which adds to the whole atmosphere, which also reminded me of Wong Kar Wai films. Post-metro Kochi is indeed a beauty and it has never been this magnificent on screen. Here it certainly can compete with the Hong Kong as captured by Christopher Doyle. Driving under the pillars of Kochi metro does remind me kindly of that famous sequence from Tarkovsky's Solaris.
Aashiq Abu is someone who has been talking a lot of the right stuff but it has never translated that well into his films. His idea of feminism so far can be summed up as the equivalent of the dick-cutting Tessa from 22FK, which is a film everyone overrates. Except for Gangster, all his other films (haven't seen Daddy Cool) have been watchable stuff without any of them threatening to be more than just good. He has had far better success as a producer. With Maayanadhi, he has finally arrived as a filmmaker. What I found to be extremely atmospheric can be a bit slow on the pacing side for some. It is paced like a foreign film and the extremely natural sounding scripting is also similar vein (so far removed from the Eda-Poda talk from the Niram times). The politics of the film comes just right without feeling any bit tacked on. They even managed to insert 'OMKV' so seamlessly into it.
It is largely a film in which both the leads are on equal footing and both male and female gaze are employed, which is such a refreshing change. Aishwarya Lekshmi, who didn't have much to do in her debut feature, is a revelation in this role and the chemistry between the two is just spot on. Film doesn't take the easy way out at the end even though it does open up the option of it to do in a convincing manner (Stoker like). There is a significant sequence in Tamil towards the end without any subtitles and I just don't understand why they make the assumption that every Malayalee understands Tamil. I just about managed to figure out enough to knowwhat was going on. It is indeed sad that they chose to release it during the festive season where it may well get washed out. Please do catch it at the best screen possible near you because it is technically so sound and sumptuously shot.