‘Nizhal’ movie review: Starts with a bang, ends with a whimper

Nayanthara in ‘Nizhal’  

Managing to build up the anticipation and to keep the audience guessing until the time of the scriptwriter’s choosing would mean half the job done in constructing an effective thriller. But much of the other half rests on how potent that final reveal is. Imagine the feeling when you expect a lion to walk out of a cave, after listening to its majestic roars for some time... and you see a mouse crawling out instead! In ‘Nizhal’, in the end, after much anticipation, we get to see something much better than a mouse, but something less than a lion too.

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Judicial magistrate John Baby (Kunchako Boban) is recovering from an accident that has left him with a post-traumatic stress disorder. During consultations with his clinical psychologist friend Shalini (Divya Prabha), she tells him about the case of school student Nithin (Izin Hash), who had narrated a disturbing story in the class, which seemed all too real, but the source of which remained mysterious. The boy’s over-protective mother Sharmila (Nayanthara) is initially reluctant at the idea of digging deeper into this, but soon she joins John in trying to unravel the mystery.

  • Director: Appu.N.Bhattathiri
  • Cast: Kunchako Boban, Nayanthara

Appu. N. Bhattathiri, who has made a name as a film editor, dons the director’s hat for the first time in this moody, atmospheric thriller, that is concerned a lot about the mindscape of its characters. Piqued by the intriguing story narrated by the young boy, the magistrate turns into a part-time investigator, digging up events from the past that further complicate the situation.


S.Sanjeev’s script gets these parts right, with the audience kept wondering as to where the thread will lead next, with each possible lead turning cold. The magistrate’s personal struggles, with regard to his mental state, and its possible connection to the boy’s thought process, also adds to the intrigue. The viewer at this point has much to chew on and play a guessing game with. The script throws up multiple possibilities too. But the final reveal appears as somewhat of a whimper after all the slow, patient building up in the first half towards something bigger.

A wish on the part of the screenwriter to have something more than a mere thriller story, and leave the audience with a message, seems to have led to that rather tame ending — which is somewhat of a let down — considering the genuine effort in maintaining the mystery almost all through. An ending one could have never guessed does not always mean a satisfying ending. ‘Nizhal’ is worth a watch if you are of the kind who enjoys the journey rather than the destination.

Nizhal is currently running in theatres


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Printable version | May 16, 2021 11:57:57 PM |

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