'Malayalee From India': Nivin Pauly's much-anticipated movie struggles to find its footing | Movie Review

'Malayalee From India' posters. Photo: Instagram/Nivin Pauly

Nivin Pauly's latest film, 'Malayalee From India', directed by Dijo Jose Antony, hit the theatres today amidst high expectations. With the release of the 'Krishna' song, fans hoped for a return to Nivin's classic charm. However, the subsequent trailer painted a different picture, presenting the film in a serious tone. In reality, the movie is a combination of both, but unfortunately, it falls short of expectations.

The plot revolves around Gopi (played by Nivin), an unemployed individual from a quaint town in Kerala who lives carefree and indulges in political antics, often landing himself in trouble. His steadfast friend Malghosh (Dhyan Sreenivasan) stands by him through thick and thin, actively participating in his misadventures. The film chronicles Gopi's journey and the escapades he encounters along the way.

The film feels like a messy amalgamation of comedy, patriotism, and feel-good moments that fail to blend cohesively. While the initial parts show glimpses of Nivin Pauly's past performances, reminiscent of 'Oru Vadakkan Selfie,' the humour doesn't quite hit the mark. Although there are comedic moments between Nivin and Dhyan, they aren't sufficient to drive the story forward. One of the film's shortcomings is its attempt to juggle too many themes simultaneously, resulting in none receiving adequate attention—a flaw reminiscent of Dijo's previous work, 'Jana Gana Mana.'

The film is undeniably Nivin Pauly's one-man show, as he remains energetic throughout, striving to engage the audience. However, Dhyan and Anaswara Rajan, have limited impact in the movie. Despite the buzz surrounding the 'Krishna' song, the dynamic between Anaswara and Nivin's characters remains unexplored in the film.

It appears that Dijo has included an abundance of elements in the film, leading to an overflow of feel-good moments that feel forced. The movie takes its time to convey its messages. For instance, there's a scene where Nivin presents a copy of 'Wings of Fire,' A. P. J. Abdul Kalam's autobiography, to a Pakistani girl. While intended to evoke applause, the scene falls flat as it echoes a formula seen in numerous other films depicting harmony between India and Pakistan.

In terms of performance, Nivin Pauly delivers solidly, playing his character decently well. Manju Pillai shines as Nivin's mother, delivering a natural and effortless performance. Dhyan provides excellent support to Nivin with his performance. The music is decent, though not exceptional.

The movie has its moments, eliciting applause from the audience at certain points. Dijo demonstrates an adept sense of timing in placing such scenes, where viewers experience an adrenaline rush. For example, the film here and there addresses the current political landscape in Kerala and India and touches on the divisive nature of religion, which is commendable. Nevertheless, the film tends to become overly preachy at times. It's a one-time watch, and not too bad if you're seeking something light.

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