Nayattu Review: The System F*cks Us All

Nayattu Review: 4.5/5

Three police officers are framed for a murder they did not commit. As the case becomes the most critical concern for the ruling party, the cops are now being chased by their colleagues. The rest of the movie involves the hunt, the woes and the setbacks they endure to prolong their arrest until the polling for the byelections is completed, so that they may have a chance to prove their innocence.

The story of Nayattu isn’t too far fetched. These are the kinds of news you hear every other day, and at this point, it’s become just white noise and you tend to tune out these stories. 

We’re often exposed to news of lockup tortures, deaths, and the subsequent legal proceedings in which the accused finally gets away scot-free. Films about these stories aren’t exactly novel either. Usually, the mentality of the victim and their family are displayed to us. And then there’s ‘nayat’ where the police are the victims, where the system is the villain. 

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Martin Prakkat (director of Charlie, ABCD, Best Actor) teams up with Shahi Kabir (writer of Joseph), a Civil Police Officer turned screenwriter, to create this fierce take on politics, misuse of power and exploitation that leads to the hunters becoming the hunted. Every character in this movie operates in various shades of grey. Even the most idealistic character among the trio, Chackochan’s Praveen, has to accept the painful fact that his sense of idealism is misplaced in a system looking for more people to corrupt and ends up enabling many of the systemic wrongdoings with his silence.

Here’s PinkLungi’s review of Nayattu:

The Cast

Our movie begins with Praveen Micheal (played by a wonderful, restrained Kunchacko Boban) and slowly builds the world around him while introducing Maniyan (an amazing Joju) and Sunitha (Nimisha Sajayan). Director Martin Prakkat and Screenwriter Shahi Kabir take very little time establishing the characters and their emotional baggage. We are provided with just the bare minimum details about the characters to root for them, which is a bold step to take. And it’s not the only bold step they’ve taken for this movie.

Nayattu Review I PinkLungi

Nimisha Sajayan’s entire set of dialogues for the movie would’ve been less than a page, and it’s a testament to the performer that she is when her silence speaks volumes. Every word from her weighs a frigging ton, especially in the third act. 

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Nimisha Sajayan

Late Anil Nedumangad, Jaffer Idukki, and Yama Gilgamesh round off the excellent cast for the movie.

Nayattu Review I PinkLungi

The Crew

I think this is the second time since 2020 a director known for his light-hearted comedies and feel-good movies switched to a bleak genre, with Kunchacko Boban headlining the project along with a fantastic team in front and behind the camera.

Martin Prakkat weaves this disturbing political thriller with the help of Shyju Khalid’s amazing cinematography, which validates the cynicism put forth by writer Shahi Kabir. Shyju helps drive the tension and the claustrophobia with his visuals (especially those night shots!), while Mahesh Narayanan edits the movie into a meticulous pace with just enough calm laced throughout to give us that little bit of hope. 

Akhil Alex and Vishnu Vijay’s score was heart thumpingly terrifying and fit the movie like a glove. 

The Predicament:

As much as I loved the movie, I do have issues with the ideology it puts forward. The implication that members of a minority group can get away, in certain situations, because of their caste is problematic considering the number of cases of minority oppression we hear in the news. Having two of the three lead characters be from the same minority group adds more weight to the tale, but that doesn’t mean one can’t disregard the argument with absolute certainty, so I’ll let you decide the same for yourself.

Nayattu Review I PinkLungi

I cannot help but wonder how a general Malayali audience might have issues with its climax’s open-ended nature. I, for one, absolutely loved how it hits you hard and forces you to reflect on what just happened as the credits roll. About it’s characters, how the system chews and spits them out, leaving them with psychological trauma for the rest of their lives. But for the kind of audience used to spoon-fed expositions, this may feel like a cop-out (pun intended).

Final Thoughts:

Nayattu is a must-watch. The theatre experience definitely enhances the movie. It’s the kind of movie that is so sure of itself that it disturbs a part of you. It forces you to take a good look at the matters of our state, of our governments, of our civil servants, of our fellow beings.

And that, makes it a powerful cinema.

Hope you liked our review of Nayattu! Do give it a watch.

Shahbaz M
I see movies, I talk about it.

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