The film cannot be taken seriously, says Paresh C Palicha.
Once upon a time, the prospect of watching a film directed by Siby Malayil gave us goosebumps.
He tackled powerful subjects and could extract top notch performances from his actors.
This was from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Thereafter his success has been sporadic and the density of themes inconsistent.
Now he is making a comeback of sorts with Njangalude Veettile Adhithikal, with Jayaram and Priyamani in the lead.
The film was marketed as a family entertainer about a husband and wife quibbling over minor issues.
But, you are in for a shock if you go in expecting a light-hearted film full of banter.
The screenplay is by K Gireesh Kumar, who tackles subjects like hallucination and schizophrenia.
Bhavana (Priyamani) is a lonely housewife who finds solace in books. She has distanced herself from her husband after the death of their daughter in a road accident.
Manoj (Jayaram) is a successful lawyer. He has got over the tragedy. He was careless and money-minded before the accident, which occurred while he was talking on his cell phone.
He has mended his ways but cannot convince his wife that he has changed. She believes that he has girlfriends and this strains their relationship further.
There are other characters, both real and imagined, who make an appearance to increase the woes of Manoj.
Chief among them is Rajan (Kalabhavan Shajon), a petty criminal and his client. He is accused of murdering his wife and, curiously, gets involved with Bhavana.
Bhavana has a platonic relationship with Raj (Narain).
Maya (Lena) is Bhavana’s college friend.
Innocent and KPAC Lalitha are wasted in a miniscule appearance as Manoj’s parents.
Jayaram has to be funny in some scenes and anxious in others, and he is proficient in doing that.
Priyamani looks lost throughout, as if she has no clue what is going on around her or what she is supposed to do.
This film does not intend to be taken seriously as far as treating the mentally ill is concerned.
There’s a psychiatrist (like in numerous other films) who looks like a sage with a beard and unkempt hair. He runs a hospital that looks like a five-star resort. Like every psychiatrist in Malayalam films, he can treat patients just by talking to them and their relatives.
Njangalude Veettile Adhithikal turns out to be a miserable disappointment.