IB Times Rating : 4
Ranjith's new flick "Njan" is a class apart film with some high quality performances.
The film, which is based on the novel "KTN Kottur Ezhuthum Jeevithavum" by T. P Rajeev explores various levels of human psychology. It question or in fact reflects the complex contradictory nature of a human mind.
"Njan" is scripted and directed by Ranjith and has Dulquer Salmaan, Suresh Krishna, Renji Panicker, Joy Mathew, Muthumani Somasundaram, Hareesh Pareday, Anumol, Jyothi Krishna, Shruthi Ramachandran and Irshad in significant roles.
The music of the film is done by Bijipal and the lyrics are penned by Rafeeq Ahammed. The cinematography of the film is done by Manoj Pillai and the editing is done by Sandeep Nandakumar.
The story of "Njan" begins with the life of a blogger and a theatre enthusiast Ravi Chandrashekharan (Dulquer Salmaan). Ravi is known for his radical and open natured blog "Kottur", which had stirred few controversies in the political and social circles in Kerala.
The film revolves around Ravi's obsession and fascination about Kottur or KTN Kottur (Dulquer). Inspired by the life and perceptions of Kottur, Ravi decides to write a play and presents Kottur's life to his fellow theatre artist.
"Njan" goes through the chronological, casual, nonlinear and historical take on Kottur's life. The film goes through emotional and perceptive struggles of Kottur who lived in the village (name of the village is also Kottur) in the northern Malabar during the emergence of communism in Kerala. Though brought up under strong influences and political ideologies of a congressman, Kottur was pointed out as a radical by most of his political counterparts and his enemies.
"Njan" is not only the reflection of Kottur's political graph, but the director has also successfully managed to bring out the human behavioural aspect of the social reformer.
The film also gives a deep insight of the social, political and cultural life of northern Malabar during the pre–independence era.
Ranjith has come up with an excellent narrative style, which is rarely used in Malayalam cinema and "Njan" must be watched for his directorial and scripting excellence. The director has also made an effort to bring out the best of the medium of cinema by using visuals as narratives and by demanding the best performances from the actors.
The most important aspect of this film is some prodigious performances by the actors.
It would be unfair to credit few actors as best, but few performances make this film a worthy one to watch.
Dulquer had given out a mature performance, which will surprise few of his critics. He has not only managed to break the stereotype image of an urban youth, but has carried the film on his shoulder with his superlative performance.
Another performance that stands out in the film is by Renji Panicker who plays the devious and villainous character of Nambiar in the film. He has again proved that he possesses some innate qualities as an actor, other than his directorial skills.
Suresh Krishna who played the role of Kunjappan Nair, father of Kottur gave an effortless performance with his histrionics. Hareesh Perady made the character of Nakulan a believable one with his realistic approach to acting.
Another important aspects of the film are its women characters, who have shaped the personal space and emotions of Kottur. Out of all the women characters, it was Muthumani Somasundaram's performance as Kottur's aunt that stands out. The actress has perfected her role with such skills and techniques, and is her best performance till now.
The rest of the woman characters in the film played by Anumol, Jyothi Krishna, Shruthy Ramachandran and Pearly Maaney are also commendable.
Saiju Kurup, Irshad, Saadiq and Joy Mathew have also made their characters memorable with their performances.
Review of "Njan" would be complete only if we mention the excellent creative works by the art, make up and costume department, who have given the identity to the narration and the characters of the film.
The art direction of the film is done by Santhosh Raman, make up is by Ranjith Ambady and the costumes were handled by S. B. Satheesh. "Njan" might fetch them some of the prestigious awards of this year.
The music of Bijibal has managed to set the mood of the film. The songs were more of poetic renditions with some excellent lyrics, which went well with the situations.
If there is a drawback, which could be pointed for this film, it would be the lag that was felt towards the end of the first half. The film might not be comprehended by all as it gives a feel of high art that is more suited for academic discourse. Otherwise, Ranjith and his crew have managed to bring out a class film, which would be discussed in the critics' circle.
"Njan" is definitely not a typical filmy entertainer with lots of twist, turns or gripping moments but is a reflection of an individual's culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, genetics, perceptions and social space.