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Natholi oru cheriya meenalla (Malayalam)

Natholi oru cheriya meenalla is a 2013 Malayalam film written by Shankar Ramakrishnan and directed by V. K. Prakash. Among the people I know, very few enjoyed the film. The general opinion is quite negative. IMDB rating is just 5.5/10. However, I loved the film. I have already watched the film 4 or 5 times. People are surprised by the fact that I loved the film. They often ask "How could you like it so much?". This is my answer!

There are spoilers ahead. So, those who have not watched the film and hate knowing the story, please come back after you have watched the film. But, I would say, don't worry too much. In my opinion, knowing the story is not going to make the movie less enjoyable. In fact, I hope, my article will help you enjoy the film better. I also promise that I will reveal as little as possible.

The movie is about Preman (Fahad Fazil) who is an aspiring writer. However, he becomes a caretaker in an apartment to meet daily needs. He develops hatred towards the residents after various incidents, but he has no way to retaliate. He chooses to take revenge through his story.

This basic plot in itself is amazing in my opinion. In life, we can seldom retaliate the way we want. We can only get back in our imagination. And, a writer has no dearth of imagination. He can let it go wild.

Thus, Preman makes residents of the apartment characters of his story. In the story, he dictates the destiny of the characters. He showers misfortune on all those he dislikes. And, he finds great joy in it.

Soon things start to get even more interesting. When Preman is not writing, the story proceeds on its own, as if the characters were alive. Around the same time, we can see an interview in Preman's TV, in which P. Balachandran says "An author creates a character, but later the character starts governing him". This is the theme of the second half of the movie. I found it interesting that, in the introductory scene inspired by the famous parrot-shooting scene from Mahabharatha, P. Balachandran also plays the role of Dronacharya while Fahad plays the role of Arjuna. At various parts, he comes and gives suggestions to Preman. So, he is Preman's mentor. I am not sure if this was intentional, but I felt this increased the importance of the stray dialogue in the background.

I thought about this idea of the character governing the author. Perhaps, the phenomenon can be explained as follows. Once we define certain traits of a character in certain scenes, consistency forces the character to behave the same way in future. Some amount of discrepancies are fine as it is common to find inconsistencies in human beings. However, gross discrepancies would make it unrealistic and uninteresting. So the author is shackled by himself. Once the story is published and accepted by the readers, they start sharing some power over the character. The burden of their expectations is placed on the character and the author. So, the freedom of the author in future publications is restricted. This, I felt, can be another sense in which a character governs the author. I invite you to share your thoughts on how a character might govern the author.

Anyway, getting back to the story, to Preman's displeasure, the characters behave in ways he does not want them to behave. Angered by this disobedience, he forcefully changes the story so that the outcomes favour him. This too was very interesting to me. In many stories we hear or read or watch we see such forced outcomes. I felt this is a plausible explanation for that phenomenon.

The rest of the movie is about the characters and the author(Preman) resolving their conflicts and coming to an understanding. There are some nice insights about the psychology of Preman in this part. Overall I found the movie extremely wacky and thought provoking. I would highly recommend it. Those who have watched it already, consider giving it a second chance.


Poster from IMDB

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