And it is finally here! Hridayam is out on Hotstar! Right from its theatrical release I heard many good things about the film. And while I resisted and keen awaited its OTT release, I had a fair idea of what was coming my way. It was only recently that I had watched and reviewed the tamil film Mudhal Nee Mudivam Nee on Zee5 and there was an instant sense of nostalgia. While that film depicted school life, Hridayam has a fair share of the engineering life that I have been privy to. And I may have passed out almost a decade ago but those 4 years of engineering life are always special to me and they will continue to do so. Even when I pass by my college, be it engineering or junior college, I always turn to have a look at the building which was my second home for 4 years. Even as I type this review, I am choked for words as a part of me has taken a trip down memory lane already. And while I gather my thoughts again, is the Malayalam film Hridayam worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Hridayam is the coming of age story of Arun from his engineering days to his fatherhood. The story is instantly relatable and it almost immediately strikes a chord from the very first scene. The screenplay might seem daunting at almost 3 hours but it is so well rounded that it is tough to find flaws with it. The situations created are just so personal here(and I might have been guilty of saying it in another review as well, but it is true!). Right from the first scene of entering the engineering college where you are kind of lost yet eager to make new friends, or that one special girl that you fall for assuming it is your long lost love, or having our fair share of ragging exercizes which act as an ice breaker to finally focussing on studies – have done it all and the first half comprises of all of this. In between there are subplots of a breakup followed by the protagonist falling in some bad company only to quickly realise his mistake, all of which are interesting to watch in an excellent first hour filled with emotions.
There is a common saying among engineers – Engineering teaches you what NOT to do in life. Which is why you see so many engineers branching out in different fields(yes yes I am guilty as well😅). So come the second half when life hits you, that is when you mature. When all your friends slowly start moving out, that is the moment when you realise that your honeymoon period of 4 years is over. That is exactly depicted here. The writing stays grounded in a path of self discovery. The romantic track is pretty well written here with a nice conflict featuring the protagonist’s past. At times we do hold onto our past for a very long time and it is here that the film began speaking to me in a language which was so well understood. At times all you need is to let go. But the nostalgic final act is what grips you with so many emotions that it was hard for me to hold back my tears. This brilliantly penned screenplay takes you on a journey like no other!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are just so well written. There are life lessons to be had throughout in the form of some brilliantly written lines. I enjoyed how emphasis was given to studying here which was so refreshing to watch. The music is brilliant here and almost all songs stand out. The BGM is a nice mix of nostalgia and other emotions. The cinematography is exquisite with some lovely frames captured. The colour grading is bright giving the film a youthful vibe. Director Vineeth Sreenivasan has done a fabulous job here. This again seems to be a personal tale and here he definitely takes you on an emotional roller coaster.
The performances are excellent. Annu Antony as Maya, Ann Jameela Saleem as Megha and Shaun Romy all have their moments to shine. Abishek Joseph George aa Kedar shines in a cameo. Aswath Lal as Antony is brilliant, as is Arun Kurian and Aju Varghese as Jimmy. Kalyani Priyadarshan as Nithya looks so pretty and there is an ease with which she performs her role. Darshana Rajendran as Darshana has such a disarming smile and she is such a natural onscreen. Pranav Mohanlal as Arun is such a brilliant actor who is slowly carving a niche for himself. He is quietly charming yet we see shades of aggression in him only to be transformed into this affable character. So many emotions brilliantly pulled off.
Hridayam is a brilliant coming of age story that felt so personal all along. Available on Hotstar and Highly Highly Highly Recommended.