The new movie produced by KSFDC, Nila, directed by Indhu Lakshmi, is trying to take us close to the mindset of a gynecologist who succumbed to bed rest after living a very active social life. Even though the structure of the story isn’t that appealing, by using the medical condition of the character and by placing an element of ambiguity in the second act, Indhu Lakshmi manages to keep it engaging and, most importantly, non-preachy.
Malathi is a retired gynecologist. As the movie begins, we are shown that she had an accident, and she firmly believes somebody tried to attack her. Her son Mahi who was taking care of her, decided to shift her to a flat as he was concerned about the frequent visitors who won’t allow his mother to get the proper rest. Even though she was reluctant, Malathi eventually agreed with Mahi’s decision. In the movie, we see Malathi’s time in that new flat and her new interactions.
Spoilers Ahead! Like most of the other films that were made under this scheme, Indu Lakshmi’s Nila also talks about the issues women face. The nice thing is that it is not being conveyed through bumper sticker dialogues. She uses narrative tools to reduce the possible blandness of the story. The POV shots when Malathi is getting shifted from one place to another and the whole Mathilukal angle keeps the movie slightly away from the activist movie tonality. Since they have placed health conditions like memory loss and dementia in the earlier part of the movie, we, as an audience, are also kind of confused about whether the post-interval chapter is real or not.
As Malathi, Shanti Krishna delivers a really impressive performance. She has the charm and confidence of a veteran doctor. The dialogue at the very beginning of the movie had a bit of stiffness. But as the story progressed, the performance became really fluent. Vineeth, as Mahi, is pretty much playing a character that feels like an extension of what he had done in Paachuvum Albhuthavilakkum. But that doesn’t make it a bad performance by any means. His voice modulation is remarkable, as the difference he creates between a villain like Bobby and a caring son like Mahi is very subtle yet evidently different. We get to see Mamukkoya for one last time in his own voice as the trusted companion of the family, Rahman. Mini IG, Madhupal, Ananya, etc., are the other actors in the film.
Indhu Lakshmi wants to explore the visual language of the medium rather than presenting everything through dialogues. Yes, the movie becomes dialogue-heavy in certain areas in the second half. But there also, you can sense an effort to restructure the messaging to make it look cinematic. The script is indeed political, and there is a talk about the normalizing of abusive relationships. I expected the home nurse track to significantly contribute to the film. But, after showing some intent to show the character’s background, the movie decided to leave that track. Bijibal’s music was really soothing.
Nila is a political film that doesn’t have the stiffness of movies that come intending to be “relevant.” The sporadic efforts to make the character exploration less bland keep you interested in knowing what would happen next. With some impressive performances and a run time of just 95 minutes, Nila is a fairly engaging character study.
With some impressive performances and a run time of just 95 minutes, Nila is a fairly engaging character study.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended