Kerala

The message has lost its novelty

Film: Puthiya Niyamam

Starring: Mammootty, Nayantara

Direction: A.K. Sajan

Vigilante justice and extra judicial measures once reigned supreme on our screens. After a brief lull, disturbingly, a second wave is upon us, as is evident from the recent ‘Amar Akbar Antony’ and now, ‘Puthiya Niyamam’. Louis Pothan, the advocate played by Mammootty in the film, thunders, “For me, my family is above everything else, even the Indian Constitution,” apparently to justify one such act.

It is a sentiment that is reflected in another much-celebrated protagonist of recent times – Georgekutty of ‘Drishyam.’

It is something that appeals to the undemocratic mob, which thinks that the existing legal measures are inadequate to deal with crime. As far as messages in films go, one can’t get more dangerous than this.

‘Puthiya Niyamam’ directed by A.K. Sajan tells the story of a happy family in which things take a turn for the worse following an incident. Louis Pothan, the advocate is someone who specialises in divorce cases.

He is also a popular face on television, as a movie critic and as a guest on prime time discussions.

He is presented as an opportunist who holds progressive views in public.

His wife, Vasuki Iyer (Nayanthara), is a Kathakali artiste. An otherwise high-spirited woman, she becomes withdrawn one fine day.

The mystery

The mystery of the change in her behaviour is not revealed until the interval.

But more than curiosity, the way the whole mystery plot has been presented evokes only impatience and then irritation in the viewer. In between shots of the brooding Nayanthara, the script tries to lighten up things by shifting to the advocate’s office, where he dishes out supposedly funny advice to those seeking divorce.

Repetitive background music adds to the plight of the audience.

The final twist in the tale deserves some ovation, for it all depends on a little mobile application.

The application is but a sad excuse for attributing all the heroism of the acts of vigilantism to the male protagonist.

Without that particular twist, the star’s fans would have been an unhappy lot, as their hero hardly does anything till that juncture.

‘Puthiya Niyamam’, with its staid treatment and morbid tone, fails to excite the audience at any point.

S.R. Praveen


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Printable version | Jun 4, 2022 5:35:25 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/the-message-has-lost-its-novelty/article8235691.ece