Duration: 02 Hrs 04 Mins
Director: Martin Prakkat
Writer: Shahi Kabir
Producers: Martin Prakkat, Ranjith, Agnivesh Ranjith, P.M. Sasidharan
Music: Vishnu Vijay
Cinematography: Shyju Khalid
Editing: Mahesh Narayan, Rajesh Rajendran
Art Direction: Dileep Nath
Release Date: 08 April 2021 (India)
Streaming On: Netflix
Star Cast: Kunchacko Boban, Joju George, Nimisha Sajayan, Jaffer Idukki, Yama Gilgamesh, Anil Nedumangad, Dineesh P., Vinod Sagar, Ajith Koshy, Jithu Asharef, Hakkim Shajajahan, Kiran Peethambaran, Manohari Joy, Sminu Sijo, Arafath, Kanakam, Jineesh Chandran, Monica, Seju K. Eapen, Niranjan Sreelakshmi, Jaise Jose, Abhilash, Annies Abraham, Midhun Abraham, Ajayan Adat, Benny C.L., Saifudheen E., Sabeeta George, Ajeesh Janaa, Sebin John, Ajeesh Jose, Veena Alphonsa Jose, Berlin Joseph, Sajeevan K., Chacko Kanjanappilly, Kochumon, Shivani Krishnakumar, Krishnaprasad, Shaji Maarad, Roy Mon, Ghana Shyam Nair, Renjith Nair, Vikas Narayanan, Archana Padmini, Biju Parackel, Rajendran, Raveeshanth, Sajeesh, Maja Sandhya, Aluva Shaji, Seethal Thamby, Lloosh Thattari, Samson Mathew Valiyaparambil, Nidhin Xavier, Aparna Zen
Plot: ‘Nayattu’ which means ‘the hunt’ is a tale of the hunters being hunted. We have 3 cops, a by-election and hit-and-run case, and the death of a Dalit. The three police officers are on a run for life, escaping the outbreak against them due to the unlawful arrest and torture of a civilian.
The film brings in a few shades of arrogant, yet, very much human police officers and their helplessness.
Review: Malayalam movies have had their own dose of survival films, but none of them have come close to being this effective. ‘Nayattu’ deals with the realistic side of a survival thriller, and it doesn’t pretend. The film is a reflection of that world in which putting up a fine show in front of the camera is more important than the truth, in fact, the truth had often taken the backseat, hence it is a mirror that should be held against a good number of cases which the media had taken up in the last few years favouring the sensation. For instance, in a scene, the police van is shown carrying two innocent individuals framed as criminals passing a polling station. Also, you get to see a media-favourite image of a young party member helping a senior citizen cross the road and reach the booth. Then the camera goes back to the individuals’ bleak face, registering the cruel irony.
The film opens with Praveen Michael (Kunchakko Boban), a police constable merely two months into the job, being assigned to drive sub-inspector Mani (Joju George) around. During their first ride, Praveen wriggles in his seat as the latter goes about painting an unpleasant picture of his father in an affectionate tone. A monotonous stream of a police radio fills in the background. A scene later, Mani invites him home, treats him to ripe jackfruit, and introduces him to his little daughter, as he beams with pride while talking about her. This switching from impersonal to the personal realm, from the coldness of the system to the warmth of human connection, reoccurs in ‘Nayattu’. Life in the police force for the constables and officers in the lower ranks is less lived and quietly endured. That is, the everyday humiliation and the prick of consciousness must be quickly overlooked and moved on. And the orders from the top order, regardless of their ethics, must be obeyed.
There were many paths which the film could have taken, but here it takes the one with the least pretensions, and that can be seen in the final moments of the film too, as there is nothing like an uplifting moment in this movie.
Kunchako Boban plays the rookie police officer in a very much believable manner. It is indeed nice to see him being part of such serious movies again and again. Joju George too does a very believable job in this film. He has some of the best dialogues in the movie. Nimisha Sajayan is realistically good as usual.
Also, Jaffer Idukki plays the Chief Minister – the role of the politician, especially that of a minister seems to suit him. His character here reflects the typical politician who wants to retain power at any cost and will plan successfully to win elections. Even Yama Gilgamesh who plays the police officer in charge of the operation has everyone’s attention too. And it feels bittersweet to see late actor Anil Nedumangad in his final role. The actor has done some memorable supporting roles in the last few years and had died by drowning at the reservoir of Malankara Dam during a break in between the shoot. He played the officer who supports the investigation, and this is once again very much a notable role. The rest of the supporting cast feels very much realistic too.
In short, Martin Prakkat delivers a fairly taut tale, filled with empathy, drama, and tension, backed by an excellent technical team.
Cinematography by Shyju Kahlid and editing by Mahesh Narayan and Rajesh Rajendran have perfectly complemented the direction. Shahi Kabir's screenplay is realistic and enjoyable. With a punch delivered in the election scene at the end, the viewers would not know whether to laugh or cry over the situation!
Watching ‘Nayattu’ will make one aware that our political and police mechanisms are so twisted. The police are mere puppets in the hands of politicians who unscrupulously can't see anything beyond their seats.
Overall, ‘Nayattu’ with its mix of police story, personal drama, and message on our politics, is well worth a watch for the whole family!