Anatomy of three scenes that make Fahadh Faasil an absolute GOAT | Malayalam News

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Anatomy of three scenes that make Fahadh Faasil an absolute GOAT | Malayalam News

Renowned for crafting some of the most celebrated films in Malayalam cinema history, such as Pappayude Swantham Appoos (1992), Manichitrathazhu (1993), and Aniyathipravu (1997), Fazil is often hailed as one of the towering legends. Therefore, when news of his new romantic drama surfaced in 2002, audiences were understandably thrilled. Just like Aniyathipravu, this new film was also headlined by a debutant actor, sparking anticipation among cinephiles, hoping for the birth of another star, similar to what happened with Kunchacko Boban in the 1997 film.

Unfortunately, their hopes were shattered when Kai Ethum Dhoorathu hit the screens, delivering a subpar plot and mediocre execution, leaving audiences disappointed. Adding to their disappointment was the performance of the lead actor, who happened to be Fazil’s son, Fahadh Faasil. Consequently, Fahadh withdrew from the film industry and remained out of the limelight for seven years.

However, to everyone’s surprise, he made a comeback through the 2009 anthology film Kerala Cafe. His performance amazed even his harshest critics. The new Fahadh displayed remarkable growth and maturity. He gradually proved himself with supporting roles in movies like Cocktail and Tournament. Finally, he reclaimed his place in the film industry as a lead actor with the experimental modern classic, Chaappa Kurishu, demonstrating that he is indeed worthy of competing with the young actors who had taken over during his hiatus. Thus, began the second innings of one of contemporary Indian cinema’s finest actors.

In the past 14 years since his return, the actor has embarked on an extraordinary journey, portraying an unparalleled array of characters. From 22 Female Kottayam, Annayum Rasoolum, and North 24 Kaatham to Maheshinte Prathikaaram, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, Kumbalangi Nights, Joji, Malik, and the recently released Maamannan, he has continually dazzled audiences with his unmatched acting prowess. Each time we believe he has reached the pinnacle of his talent, Fahadh surprises all by raising the bar even higher.

As the actor celebrates his 41st birthday on August 8, we take a closer look at three remarkable scenes from three distinct films starring Fahadh Faasil, which exemplify his exceptional talent and why he is rightfully regarded as a true G.O.A.T.

Chain-snatching scene in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum stands as one of the finest Malayalam movies in recent times, serving as a brilliant guide on scriptwriting and transforming the written material into a cinematic masterpiece. The film excels in giving equal significance to each moment, skillfully avoiding both unnecessary prolongation and rushed storytelling. It expertly employs dialogues and silence, precisely when needed, while also ensuring all characters on screen are well-developed with proper arcs.

After introducing the viewers to lead characters Prasad (Suraj Venjaramoodu) and Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan), the film slowly moves towards the end of its first act when the inciting incident occurs. About 18 minutes into the movie, the two find themselves on a bus journey through the dusty and barren areas of Kasargod, during which a man (Fahadh) steals Sreeja’s necklace and discreetly swallows it. Despite being the sole witness to the incident, all the other passengers trust her account and decide to take the culprit to the nearby police station.

This stands out as one of the most meticulously crafted scenes in modern Malayalam cinema, showcasing Fahadh’s remarkable acting skills without relying on dialogues or even revealing his entire face.

Following an extreme wide shot that shows the terrain along which the bus is moving, the film immediately cuts to a close-up of Sreeja. The camera then pans slowly to reveal the person sitting behind her, with both hands resting on the bar above her seat, seemingly asleep. A whistling background track starts playing as the man (Fahadh) lowers one of his hands, uncovering his light brown eyes. It becomes evident that his eyes were open all along. The tiredness in his eyes is apparent, but he is not yet ready to sleep. After a brief blink, his gaze fixates on the object he had been observing all this time — Sreeja’s golden neck chain.

At that precise moment, he delicately raises one of his hands, holding a cutter. First, he gently pokes Sreeja to ensure she’s fast asleep. After a brief pause, indicating his expertise and timing, he adeptly moves into action, cutting her chain with precision, all the while avoiding any movements that might attract attention. Meanwhile, in an extreme close-up, it is revealed that his eyes are constantly scanning the surroundings to ensure no one is witnessing his actions. Once the chain is cut, he promptly discards the cutter out the window.

After severing the chain, a shot captures him looking at it with a glimmer in his eyes, signifying its deep significance to his character. This small chain, despite not being notably gold-heavy, probably carries great value to him as it is likely that he envisions this chain as a means to cover his expenses for a few fruitful days ahead.

He proceeds to gently pull the chain from her neck, but before he can succeed, Sreeja awakens, screaming in terror. In that instant, the man swallows the chain swiftly, displaying a sense of urgency and determination. His expressions during this tense moment are utterly captivating, clearly revealing his strong motivation.

Upon hearing Sreeja’s screams, the other passengers gather around and begin to rough him up. Interestingly, Fahadh’s expressions drastically change, and he adopts the demeanour of the most innocent person on Earth.

Celebrated for the same, this scene serves as a compelling testament to the extent of Fahadh’s acting prowess with just his eyes. While extreme close-ups are often effective in portraying deep emotions, relying predominantly on them during a scene where an action is taking place can be a risky choice. Nevertheless, director Dileesh Pothan and cinematographer Rajeev Ravi skillfully employed this technique in most parts of the scene, showing their unwavering trust in Fahadh’s ability to execute every action with absolute perfection. Despite having his face obscured for a significant portion of the scene, Fahadh’s eye communication and mastery over his body language are clearly evident here.

Even in the extreme close-up shots that capture him slowly extracting the chain, Fahadh’s hands remain steady, resembling those of a seasoned thief, and their pace emphasises this fact.

Shammy’s altercation with Baby Mol and Simi in Kumbalangi Nights

Shammy in Kumbalangi Nights is undoubtedly a ‘hero’, not in the technical sense, but because his character embodies traits commonly associated with heroes in Malayalam cinema. However, it was when director Madhu C Narayanan and writer Syam Pushkaran added a touch of eccentricity to the typical characteristics of a Malayalam family drama hero that the audiences understood the problematic nature of such characters in general.

Throughout the movie, Fahadh’s character, Shammy, delivers several moments that genuinely send shivers down the viewers’ spines. But the actor’s remarkable ability to seamlessly transition between different emotions and expressions becomes evident in a striking scene towards the climax of the film. In this particular moment, Shammy’s sister-in-law, Baby Mol (Anna Ben), boldly declares her intention to elope with her boyfriend Bobby (Shane Nigam), despite Shammy’s disapproval of their relationship.

Seated beside Baby on a sofa, Shammy embodies the familiar traits of typical Malayali men who, under the pretext of the “well-being” of the family, forcefully impose their interests, decisions, and petty egos on others. In silence, he fixes his gaze directly at Baby, emanating nothing but suppressed animosity, before finally speaking, “You should treat me like your own brother; only then will this conversation hold any significance.”

However, as he starts speaking, it becomes clear that his concern is not their family’s well-being. Simultaneously, the disdain for Bobby and the repugnance towards Baby, originating from the tendency of men to treat women as immature and the belief that men should be the ones making family decisions, quickly turns into irritation when Baby responds to one of Shammy’s questions by addressing her sister Simi (Grace Antony) instead of him. This marks the initial change in his behaviour. “Please don’t insult me mole,” Shammy pleads, faking a sense of sadness. Though his tone undergoes yet another transformation when Baby mentions Bobby’s good heart, Shammy instantly switches back to portraying the “affectionate brother” persona.

While he continues to assert his case, Baby dismisses all his arguments, causing yet another shift in Shammy’s behaviour. Although visibly enraged, he chooses to express his anger through laughter. However, the way Shammy rubs his hands together suggests a strong inclination to slap Baby. The conversation reaches a tipping point when Baby says something “unacceptable”. Shammy becomes agitated and starts shouting, with all his male chauvinism pouring out.

When he starts talking to Baby disrespectfully, Simi jumps in and cautions Shammy against doing so, catching him off guard, as it is another blow to his masculinity. However, Shammy’s response to the situation does not involve making a scene. Instead, he storms off to a corner of the room, facing the wall, and covers his face with both hands, creating added tension among the characters and viewers. A few moments later, Shammy returns with an eerie smile, as if nothing happened, before locking up the family.

A masterfully crafted scene, Fahadh’s portrayal of the myriad of thoughts inside Shammy’s head is unparalleled. Despite being dialogue-heavy, Fahadh occasionally goes beyond them, skillfully incorporating pauses and silences in a breathtaking manner. His seamless transitions between emotions heighten the fear experienced by both the viewers and the characters on screen. Throughout the scene, not a single moment passes where Shammy’s behaviour appears ordinary or exaggerated, showcasing Fahadh’s complete command over his performance and deep understanding of the character. This particular scene serves as a testament to his ability to handle complex characters and their tumultuous emotional journeys.

Sadhya-eating scene in Njan Prakashan

Fahadh’s brilliance goes beyond these scenes. The way he immerses himself into the character of Siva in Bangalore Days, melting into the arms of his wife Divya (Nazriya Nazim) during a deeply romantic moment, and the profound sorrow he conveys as Rasool through a silent, teary, and aimless gaze at his deceased love Anna’s (Andrea Jeremiah) body in Annayum Rasoolum, further exemplify his extraordinary acting skills.

Furthermore, Fahadh’s talent in handling comedy with utmost subtlety deserves applause. In Sathyan Anthikad’s Njan Prakashan, after introducing Prakashan (Fahadh), the film takes us to a wedding venue where the protagonist is among the attendees. As he gracefully enjoys the Mangala Vadyam, Prakashan notices some people standing up. Reacting quickly, he forgets about the ceremony and swiftly walks off to the mess. Upon arriving at the area, he finds the entrance already crowded with people. Nevertheless, Prakashan cleverly manages to manoeuvre to the front and starts searching for the easiest available seat through the closed grill gate.

As soon as the gate opens, he rushes to find a seat. Prakashan can be seen darting here and there, trying to spot an available spot, only to find the one he spotted already taken. However, he quickly notices another vacant seat and, before anyone else can claim it, he jumps on it, claiming that he needs to catch a train to Chennai after lunch, which is a blatant lie. Once seated, he immediately reaches for the pappad first, just like any average Malayali would. As he enjoys the sadhya, a videographer arrives to capture footage of the people. Prakashan, who was previously eating in an untidy manner, quickly transforms into a gentleman eater for the video, savouring each bite slowly and gracefully. However, once the videographer leaves, he reverts to his original self.

With limited dialogues, Fahadh skillfully portrays all the nuances of an average Malayali. While one might assume that anyone could portray such a character on screen, the fact that no one has done so until now, despite having numerous sadhya scenes in Malayalam cinema, truly highlights his brilliance as an actor. This can be attributed to his attention to detail in his performance, his keen observation of people and their traits, and his ability to elevate a seemingly simple scene into a brilliant comedy. These qualities contribute to making Fahadh an amazing actor.

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