‘Made in Kanhangad’.
So screams the title card of Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam , oozing pride for the place in which the film is firmly set, and evoking in the viewer an anticipation for something novel. The core story, narrated as a one-liner, might manage to evoke only faint interest; over the years, we have seen and heard many a story about women who are forced into marriages against their wishes, and devising ways to wriggle out of the proposal. But how you choose to tell a story and what you let the characters do, can make all the difference, which is what director Senna Hegde achieves here.
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Suja (Anagha Narayanan), the protagonist of Thinkalazhcha ... who is being forced to get married to an NRI, has an extra burden too. Her father Vijayan (Manoj KU) is still living with the ‘shame’ of his elder daughter Surabhi (Unnimaya Nalappadam) getting married to someone of her choice, rejecting the proposal from a cousin, who also happens to be economically better off. Vijayan has thus dumped all his hopes on Suja, to redeem himself among the judgemental extended family and the larger society. But Suja clearly has other plans.
Her hilarious ‘ pennu kaanal ’ scene with the tone-deaf NRI man sets the tone for the rest of the movie, which is replete with such moments. Each of her well-thought out retorts to his prepared list of questions, meant to scare him away, only manage to evoke the opposite effect in him. The engagement is well and truly on, and it has to happen soon, as the man has to return abroad to his job. Time is running out for Suja, and her boyfriend is nowhere to be seen.
- Director: Senna Hegde
- Cast: Anagha Narayanan, Unnimaya Nalappadam, Manoj KU, Sajin Cherukayil
Director Hegde brings a certain originality and authenticity to the proceedings on-screen, which is not only because of the settings and dialect of Kasargod (which have got only scant representation in Malayalam cinema). He seems to have an ability to write scenes which bring out the relationship dynamics and underlying tensions between any set of characters. This is quite evident in the scenes after the arrival of the various sets of relatives in the household ahead of the engagements, especially the ways in which Surabhi’s cousin (played by Sajin Cherukayil) attempts to curry favour with her father, even while showing open contempt for her husband.
While much of the focus of the film is on a woman struggling to stand up for her choice, it also does not take its eyes away from the father, who at times behaves like an autocrat within the family, even while meekly running away from someone who borrowed him money. A majority of the cast is fresh, but most of them perform like seasoned veterans.
With Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam , Senna Hegde shows that no story is stale, if you find novel and creative ways of narrating it.
Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam is currently streaming on Sony Liv