IBTimes India rating: 4.5
Nurses are called God's angels on earth, but have we ever thought about their struggling life? Have you realised that there are a huge number of nurses from Kerala working in almost every Indian state and across the globe because of why people naturally relate "Kerala nurses" once they hear the name Kerala? Ever wondered why nurses often migrate to foreign countries looking for a better career? Do you know the real struggles faced by 46 Indian nurses who were trapped in Tikrit in Iraq during the civil war in 2014? The latest Malayalam movie Take Off is the answer!
What is the movie about?
The first half of Take Off introduces us to the issues faced by Sameera (Parvathy), a mother-of-one and divorcee, who struggles to support her family by working at a hospital in Kerala. In order to support her family from debt, she leaves to Iraq despite knowing the dangerous situations in the country. But why? Just to receive four times the salary she is paid in Kerala for her work. She is accompanied by a group of 18 nurses, all Keralites, including Shahid (Kunchacko Boban).
Despite working hard and sincerely, nurses are not paid well in their own country, making them desperate to go abroad. From paying loans to supporting siblings, they have quite a lot of responsibilities in life. And Take Off makes us realise the struggles faced by many nurses, who don't get recognised for their work.
Now, back to the storyline, the second half of Take Off narrates thrilling experiences as the story moves on to the backdrop of war zone in Iraq, where 19 Indian nurses are held hostages by rebel militants. How they are brought back to India with the timely actions of the Indian ambassador in Iraq, Manoj (Fahadh Faasil), and the struggles they face during the risky operation keep the audience on the edge of seat for sure, though the climax is well known.
After portraying the role of Kanchanamala, for which she bagged the Kerala State Best Actress Award, Parvathy is in Take Off with her next best. Her flawless performance, especially the way she handles emotional scenes, proves that she has come a long way from the smart school girl Pooja Krishna in the 2006 movie Notebook. She delivers a splendid performance throughout, and was very convincing as a pregnant woman, who is also on a mission to find her husband from the war zone.
Parvathy, hope your shelf at home will be filled with many more awards this year for your remarkable performance in Take Off
Same is the case of Kunchacko Boban. Coincidentally, Take Off has been released exactly on the same date (March 24) when Boban made his acting debut with Aniyathipravu 20 years ago - the day he started getting the love and affection of all the Malayalis. He too has made a remarkable performance in Mahesh's directorial venture as Shahid, a character he will be remembered forever.
However, it is Fahadh who has stolen the show in the second half of Take Off. He is emotional, strong, well-mannered, responsible and manages to balance every expression in the best way possible. After all, he becomes the guardian angel of the captivated nurses, who owe their life to him, and the rebels, who didn't end their life. Yet another good performance from Fahadh after Maheshinte Prathikaram.
Every other actor, including Asif Ali, Parvathy T, Alencier Ley, Prakash Belawadi, Divyaprabha, the 16 nurses, doctors in Iraq and Shaheen Siddique can always be proud of making their presence felt in Take Off. Special mention for child artiste Eric Zachariah, who did complete justice to his character Ibru, who was with Sameera during the tough 23 days of captivity.
Hats off to Mahesh Narayanan as Take Off doesn't look like his debut movie as a director. That's the kind of perfection that he brought to make it an engaging movie from start till end. There isn't a single scene in the film that could have been avoided, revealing how well he visualised the entire movie and edited it in a crispy manner -- an advantage of an editor becoming a filmmaker.
Sanu John Varghese has brilliantly captured the visuals of Take Off. His team perfectly made Iraq's Tikrit Hospital by shooting it in Ras al-Khaimah, Dubai and the other shots in Kerala and Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.
Why is Take Off special?
We have heard about the Iraq crisis that happened in 2014 via news channels and newspapers. Now, the makers of Take Off make each one of us to be part of it, by coming up with such a realistic thriller without any notable mistakes to be pointed out. Original footage of the Iraq crisis has also been well incorporated in Take Off.
Also, if you are an emotional person, there are few moments in Take Off that will wet your eyes thinking about the struggles faced by nurses around us, and the ones who got stranded in the Middle East country in 2014. People following other religions had to escape from Iraq in disguise as a Muslim by even learning how to offer prayers (niskaram).
Drawback? Just one!!
The only drawback, or may be something that the makers should not have done is the release of two trailers that revealed almost every important sequences in Take Off. The videos gave an idea of the entire storyline, yes we know the real life incidents, the happy ending it would have, but at least the personal life of Sameera could have been left to be watched in theatres.
Take Off is a must-watch film to get an excellent movie experience and for the outstanding performances of Parvathy, Kunchacko Boban, Fahadh Faasil and everyone in it. Splendid, excellent, outstanding, and all other superlatives seem to be not enough to praise Mahesh Narayanan's directorial venture. It has definitely taken Malayalam cinema to a new height with its international standards in filmmaking. Do not miss the movie in theatre, and if you miss, then you are the only one losing it.
Just book the tickets ASAP for Take Off !!!