Hindi cinema witnessed a new-age wave post Govind Nihalani’s path-breaking Ardh Satya in 1983, resulting in a complete transformation of the genre bringing in the appreciable change. Though it took decades to deliver any similar meaningful attempt, Hindi filmmakers still excelled in many off-beat films like Shool, Sehar, Article 15, and more. On the other hand, the regional language cinema also had its share of worth-watching cop-movies released in the last few decades, including many recent ones.
Considering the above, it’s really difficult to assume a cop-drama coming up with something fresh or hard-hitting than what has already been conveyed.
Surprisingly, Nayattu (meaning The Hunt) breaks the myth despite talking about all the known things. The film has cops framing young boys planting fake evidence, caste-divide causing clashes, police officers used as puppets by the politicians, and elections seen as the most important thing to be held at the cost of many lives, as seen earlier.
Yet, Nayattu successfully delivers the unexpected amid everything familiar making a solid impact. Beginning with a sequence of tug-war being played between two groups in a local event (as a metaphor), the director takes his time to introduce the characters, creating a realistic local ambience.
In these first 20 minutes, the viewer keeps guessing the plot, which turns out to be so real yet so unpredictable that should not be revealed in any review. The same needs to be taken care of while mentioning its seriously heart-crushing climax, keeping the shock value intact. Having said that, the culmination also leaves you with a few questions in mind and thus might be disheartening for many.
Displaying amazing courage, director Martin Prakkat takes off every piece of cloth from the idol of law, order, and politics prevailing in our society, leaving it completely naked. He dares to reveal it all and does it convincingly without being deliberate or over-the-top. Such is the execution in the film, that at times one feels pity for the police officers for a change.
The narrative remains highly realistic from the first frame to the last, with ample support coming from the technical department led by the cinematography. Plus, the three lead performances are a sheer treat to watch featuring Joju George, Nimisha Sajayan, and Kuchakko Boban.
In all, Nayattu is a near-perfect film that ends on a heart-wrenching note pointing towards the culprit who doesn’t have any face in this corrupt system but can come after anyone anytime without an exception. Here if power makes you a hunter, then the same power can make you the hunted too in no time without even giving any prior sign.
The film strongly reminded me of Ardh Satya as it is all about the hidden or half-truth that never gets revealed to anyone. So, watch it as a must and give it a serious thought, as the end credits start rolling.
Cast: Joju George, Nimisha Sajayan and Kuchakko Boban
Director: Martin Prakkat
Rating: 4 stars