Ennalum Ente Aliya
Onto the next release of the weekend and I have finished watching the new Malayalam film Ennalum Ente Aliya which is streaming on Amazon Prime. And is it even a Friday if there isn’t a Malayalam film to review. It was last Friday when I had skipped the Malayalam film Saturday Night after some terrible reviews that came my way. But for me, it was always going to be a glitch in the matrix, particularly because of the hit rate as far as the Malayalam films are concerned. My faith in them has always been there and nothing shall change it!
I must be honest here, I hadn’t even heard about the film Ennalum Ente Aliya until yesterday. A feed just popped up on my timeline stating that a new Malayalam film is out starring Suraj Venjaramoodu. And I had to get to it soon. I grabbed my first presented opportunity, going in blind without any pre-conceived notions. So then does Ennalum Ente Aliya manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Set in Dubai, Ennalum Ente Aliya follows the story of two immigrant couples who are at loggerheads with one another for what is a trivial issue to begin with. What transpires next? The story here is a feel good drama packaged as a situational comedy. It will not be wrong of me to say that the drama here is also experimental in many ways given its treatment. The screenplay standing at just about a 110 minutes does make for a brisk watch, with perhaps a further 10 minutes which could have been trimmed as the writing at times does spread a little too thin.
The drama, like in most Malayalam films, begins with a bit of world building wherein we are acquainted with one of the two couples first who are settled in Dubai. The drama slowly begins introducing the other players that include an ‘annoying’ brother-in-law who is on a work visa which is about to expire. Soon the focus does shift to the other couple, featuring a conservative and doting mother who does suspect her daughter of having an affair. The introduction of the conflict is a trivial one with both the ‘warring’ parties pitted against each other.
The drama particularly in the first hour did seem slightly disjointed. The treatment wasn’t seamless and I was unsure as to where the film is headed. But the positive here is also that the viewer does get sufficient time with the characters to form their own opinions. What did seem like a watchable drama soon turned out to be interesting after the introduction of the conflict. What began on a trivial note, slowly but steadily began to escalate. And what did escalate was also the humour and chaos in the screenplay. In between there was a sharp reference on certain social issues, for instance one protagonist putting down the other by calling her ‘childless’, only to later realize her mistake.
The first half is almost around 73 minutes long as opposed to the 38 minute second half and I did feel that atleast 10 minutes could have been trimmed out for an even tighter narrative. Probably, the conflict could have been introduced a lot sooner as well. But all that is forgiven in the splendid second half that is almost like a wave. There is a large portion wherein all the principle characters are calm before one of them gets into a fight again. The proceedings are indeed hilarious leading up to a rather funny climax, something that I did not see coming. So overall, the screenplay is quite well written and the experiment nearly pays off! And the message at the end is good as well, to trust your kids and allow them to make their own decisions.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational yet they make for a hilarious impact. The one instance is the ‘drunk’ scene in the second hour that had me cracking up out of nowhere. The BGM is good and does well to highlight the comic element in the drama. The cinematography is alright, the editing is slightly choppy particularly in the first hour. Director Bash Mohammed does a good job although he is rough around the edges. But I do admire his narrative style which is far too unassuming, with the humour kicking in out of nowhere.
The performances by the cast are quite good here. Meera Nandan has her moments to shine. Josekutty Jacob as Vivek is first rate. Amritha Menon as Ismi is quite affable and does a good job. Lenaa as Suli is top notch and does a fabulous job. Siddiqui as Karim is hilarious and just so brilliant to watch. Gayathri Arun as Lakshmi is very well restrained and probably the most sane person amongst the protagonists. Suraj Venjaramoodu as Balu does manage to tickle your funny bone in a job well done!
Ennalum Ente Aliya is a feel good comedy with plenty of hilarious moments that makes for a fun watch. Available on Amazon Prime.