Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal directed by Kamal is a romantic drama set in the backdrop of the pristine sea coast of Lakshadweep that has all the ingredients of a captivating narrative.
It's a love story, written jointly by Kamal and John Paul, that unveils the life and culture of the virgin cost of Kavaratti, the capital of the island. The plot revolves around a youth, an aspiring actor, who arrives in Laksha Dweep from Kozhikode along with a group of carpenters to repair a dhow and falls in love with a beautiful damsel of the island.
The highlight of the film is that the conversation closely follows the language and the slang of the island. Though it may sound outlandish, one may never miss the message and the communication.
The stage is well set for a high drama, yet the proceedings meander ahead in disjointed fragments. Though the connection between the scenes in the course remain feeble initially, the movie captures emotional heft as the narrative progresses.
Kamal after a brief hiatus manages to bring in the freshness of a romantic thriller. However, the treatment gets artificial on several occasions. The story survives the scourge of cliche by a whisker thanks to the mesmerising location, poignant performance by Vinayakan (Idhru) and the sparkling presence of Riddhi Kumar (Jasmin).
The script by John Paul and Kamal is absorbing. It throws you right into the middle of the quaint rustic world of the islanders. Yet, it leaves so many loose ends that can yank you back to your present world.
Gabri Jose (Ajmal), debuting as a lead actor in the film, is a charming personality. But he seems to remain detached from the high drama and needs to vet his skills of histrionics to portray a character who can translate the depth of intense moments.
Riddhi Kumar gels quite well with the ways and the life of the island. She etches every minute nuances and gestures that add to the beauty of the character. She also lends vigour to the romantic pangs and turbulence of the plot.
Padmavati Rao (Noor Jahan), as the grandmother of the female lead, portrays the powerful entity that steers the narrative ahead.
Dileesh Pothan as Ansari does justice to the character. But we have seen hundreds of such Ansaris before. While Saiju Kurup as police inspector evokes some grins occasionally, Sudheesh plays an important character but has a smaller space to perform.
The camera captures the hues and fragrance of the island without losing a bit of its essence. The underwater scenes are magnificent but except a couple of sequences, they seem pointless. Idhru's encounters with sharks, establish his ruthless, sinewy and valorous appearance, but fails to trigger the adrenaline rush one expects from such sequences.
Vishnu Panicker absorbingly cans the eventful journey of the passionate lovers on the quite island blanketed by sun-kissed silver sands and caressed by the ripples of emerald blue sea. The turquoise waters that surround the lush green land, the colourful coral reefs and the fascinating fishes provide a grand canvas for the romance and the effort to capture them in frames meticulously is noteworthy.
Music by Shan Rahman is awesome. The movie is watchable for its visual brilliance.