North 24 Kaatham is one of the best Malayalam movies in recent times. It works big time due to script, performers and direction.
The subject itself is close to everyday life of Malayalees – the regular bandh and hartal’s in the state. What happens when three strangers due to circumstances have to travel from South to North Kerala on a bandh day forms the crux of this road movie.
Harikrishnan (Fahadh Faasil) is a brilliant IT professional working for a foreign c company in Kochi. He is basically a loner and suffers from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and is hated by his colleagues. One day he has to travel to Trivandrum for work by a night train.
Due to a quirk of fate on a bandh day he is forced to accompany Gopalan (Nedumudi Venu) a veteran politician and Narayani (Swaty Reddy) a social worker from Paravoor in South to Kozhikode in North Kerala. It is life changing experience for all the three especially the protagonist.
Debutant writer and director Anil Radhakrishnan through smart writing has made this road movie thoroughly enjoyable with loads of situational humour and a critical look at the plight of the ordinary man on a bandh day.
Technically the film is chic thanks to Jayesh Nair’s camera that captures the various shades on a bandh day and different modes of transport taken by the lead characters to reach their destination. Add to it Govind P Menon's music, which is in sync with the theme.
The film belongs to Fahadh Faasil, he is simply awesome and brings out the different shades of the character he does so effortlessly. Remember he is grumpy throughout the film and the scene where he smiles for the first time makes the audiences root for him.
And his fellow travellers Nedumudi Venu and Swathy Reddy are extraordinary along with those in the supporting cast of Sreenath Bhasi and Premgi Amaren in a cameo.
On the downside even though the film is only 2 hours a lag can be felt in the second half. Some things are unexplained, why did Hari not got back for his important meeting in Trivandrum after conveying the bad news to Gopalan ? And who will dare to travel on a bandh day from Parvoor to Kozhikode?
On the whole North 24 Kaatham is fresh and innovative concept, hilarious at the same time thought provoking and a thoroughly enjoyable ride. Go for it!
Verdict – Very Good