We have seen Mammootty as a householder or its variants in many films and loved him in such roles. So, when scenarist Ranjith cast him in the role of a driver in his new film Bavuttiyude Namathil (written and produced by him), directed by G S Vijayan (who makes a comeback after a long break), expectations were high.
Bavutti (Mammootty) is employed by a rich couple Sethu (Shankar Ramakrishnan) and Vanaja (Kavya Madhavan). They do not treat him as an employee; he is like a brother for Vanaja and more than a friend to Sethu.
An orphan, Bavutti considers them his family. Sethu can blindly trust him with his money and even keep him as his front man in dubious dealings that cannot be made public. Vanaja can ask anything of him as she would an elder brother.
It is established that Bavutti is a secret keeper for both of them.
We expect a crisis to erupt sooner or later but things look hunky-dory till the end of the first half. There are a couple of sub-plots like Bavutti's passion for acting in home movies, that is a trend in the Malabar region, and his liking for the children's tuition teacher (Rima Kalingal).
is Vanaja's past that precipitates the crisis. Satheeshan (Vineeth) appears as her past lover when Sethu is out of town and asks for Vanaja's help. He turns out later to be the villain of the piece. Bavutti takes it upon himself to solve this problem without letting Sethu know about it.
There are other supporting characters--Harisree Asokan playing a local goon, Sudheesh playing the director of the home movie, and Kaniha who acts as the domestic help in Vanaja's household.
Mammootty's character reminds us of his role in Kamal's Rappakal (2005) as the caretaker of an old tharavadu on the brink of demolition. Here he assumes a peculiar Malabar accent, together with his typical mannerisms, to project himself as a likeable guy.
Kavya Madhavan and Shankar Ramakrishnan play their parts well. While Kavya oozes innocence, Shankar seems to be like the tip of the iceberg, showing just a bit of himself while hiding much more. Vineeth adds a little shock value as a rogue character, with a golden beard and unkempt hair.
Bavuttiyude Namathil is watchable at least for the performance of the three main characters.