After a bright start at the film festivals, winning the award for best popular film in the IFFK, Joy Thomas's debutante directorial venture 'Shutter' is finally into theatres. And as expected 'Shutter' is an unprejudiced and memorable contribution to Mollywood with an authentic portrayal of life in Kerala. It is also an exploration of the theme of friendship through the two days of life of a non-resident Keralite. Interestingly a good part of the movie is shot in a trashy room in a unremarkable commercial complex with a lot of talks about friendship and money; love and yearning, fear and optimism all transpiring between its four walls. And also for another rare time, the female lead in this film is a sex-worker, one who has wonderful insights into the countless faces of life and one who mouths the very bests of the observations and dialogues in this film.
The movie focuses on the events in the life of a few ordinary people in Kozhikkod over two days. Lal appear as Rasheed, an NRI working in the gulf, who is currently on vacation for a few days. Citing his daughter Nyla's unlimited use of mobile phone and her participation in a music troupe in the college largely composed of male friends, Rasheed finds it hightime to marry her off before getting spoiled, even though she is just 17. Rasheed also owns a commercial complex adjacent to his house which is let for rent except for one room, where he hopes to start a business after coming back from the Gulf. This is also a hangout for his friends who drink, boozes and gossips every night.
Having fixed his daughter Nyla'(Ria)s engagement, Rasheed decides to take a break from his night party, but on the final day falls for Thankam(Sajitha Madathil), a street prostitute, while travelling on the autorikshaw owned by Nanmayil Suran(Vinay Fort), his best friend. They hire her, but on not finding any other suitable place decides to have the night on the free room in the complex owned by Rasheed. Suran locks them inside and goes on for a drive assuring to return after some time with food. But as Suran is arrested for drunken driving, he with his fellow passenger Manoharan(Sreenivasan), who is a small time movie maker lands up in a police station and is in no position to leave there at least till the morning. The improbable couple of Rasheed and Thankan is thus caged in a room for another 24 hours, which makes Rasheed realize what it is to be a fine man who never succumbs to petty and unlikely wishes and what is the real meaning of friendship.
With several twists and moments of suspense, the script by Joy Thomas stands apart for its inherent sincerity and unadulterated rendition. The movie is also engaging for its careful study of human behaviours and situations, with each non-exaggerated characters have a surprising role to play in the climax. Rasheed's final realisation about the NRI money that is bringing him friendships and about new generation camaraderie appear non preachy and gel well with the narratives.
Joy Thomas is able to bring out the best of the performances from his entire cast with Lal delivering another stellar performance as Rasheed. It's pity he missed out of a big accolade in the state awards. But Sajitha Madathil who had a tough fight for the title of the best female artist is realistic, and fascinating as a sex worker with out any flashy, loud clothes and bawdy body language. Vinay Fort again excels after his 'Theevram' role and give fine touches as the perfect auto rickshaw driver that you find on streets. The rest of the cast are also apt for their roles.. .
The technical sides of the movie are but very average with Hari Nair just making the visuals near perfect. Bijith bala also offers some unwanted cuts that derails the sought after pace of the movie. Also some sequences in the second half was unwarranted while some others were inadequately captured. But the sound design and BG scores by Ranganath Ravi is topnotch which adds to the intensity of the narratives. The theatrical version in 122 minutes is now a little less than the original which was at 134 minutes.
Anyhow, Shutter' is a must watch for all those who want to see refreshingly different threads and fine narratives. Definitely prescribed for a satisfactory watch.