The first half works quite well in a low-key mode, but the second half could have used a lot more bite.
There’s something utterly endearing about a big, burly man like Lal playing someone whose dream is to become a fashion designer. (The character’s name is Basheer.) This is a stereotype, of course – there is no body type for any profession. But actors are often so stereotyped themselves – because of their body type, their voice, and so forth – that it is refreshing to find even traces of a difference. Take Lal in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela. It’s another “soft” role, like in Dear Vaappi, and it comes with a vulnerability that the character does not have the courage to handle his wife’s illness. The idea that this big, burly man is not as strong as his frail-looking wife is, again, an endearing touch. It may not have worked as well with an actor who had a more “sentimental” screen presence. It is due to Lal that Dear Vaappi works to the extent that it does.
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