Koimoi Recommends Nayattu: “Cops who do their jobs honestly, always end up getting into trouble,” says a terrific Joju George’s character ASI Maniyan in a scene. Nayattu, meaning a hunt, is the system hunting down its own creatures who were working selflessly for it. The film, for me, is defined in a scene by the end where a blind lady is guided by a stranger at the voting booth, and made to press a button; she is clueless about where it leads to.
Today on Koimoi Recommends, I want you to watch Shahi Kabir written, and Martin Prakkat directed Nayattu, a film about the rotten apples in the system, and how they end up infecting others. The ones they fail to, end up living in delusion.
Director: Martin Prakkat
Available on: Netflix India
Nayattu, starring Joju George (ASI Maniyan), Kunchako Boban (CPO Praveen Michael), Nimisha Sajayan (Constable Sunitha), is about three police officers coming from different walks of life being stuck in an accident case, that is falsely charged as murder on them. They run away and are being chased by their peers, while the election season is on the rim. How they become the victims of politics that is full of greedy monsters is the core of film. PS: I would suggest you get into Nayattu with a basic understanding of the Dalit politics in Kerala, or at least don’t form an opinion without knowing it. (Also, you have my complete attention if I go wrong in my understanding. Constructive feedback is always welcomed. That’s how we grow together.)
Malayalam cinema at this point has established itself enough that people understand there has to be some reason behind every film made by a responsible filmmaker. Take Nayattu on Netflix, for instance. On the surface level, it is a thriller about three police officers who are on a run from the same machinery that they have been protecting all this time. But if you have the patience to scratch the surface, it is a commentary about the politics, the rot that is eating the system, the caste divide, the disputes amongst the have nots and a lot more.
We enter this universe created by Shahi and Martin on a slow flame through Kunchako Boban’s Praveen’s perspective, who has joined the police force recently. He is like a firm straight tree standing amid the cyclone. He feels that the system he is penetrating into is pure and only sees and seeks justice for others. The notion is broken when enters Maniyan, his head in the hierarchy. An officer who has been in the system for decades. He plants fake evidence to charge an innocent on orders by people sitting above him and says something to the effect of, “even a gangster has authority to deny such orders, but the police don’t.” Praveen’s delusion is shattered.
Kicks in the caste politics. Now, this part of the story drives the narrative, and I won’t spoil it for you by elaborating. Let’s explore the gist of it. In this universe, Maniyan is a Dalit, but not really connected to the clan. Sunita, the lowest in the hierarchy professionally, is also a Dalit who is indirectly connected to the guy who is a prominent name in their community and creates havoc for these three. The war here is civil. It may be the powerful and influential running the game, and using the have nots like their puppets, but it also people running from their own community in two ways. One from the police, and two from the Dalit community from where the two of the three come from.
It is about the blinds and delusion the system wants us to live with and in. Sold section of media adding their much poisonous fuel to the debate, and people drawing their own conclusions makes a perfect combination for the monsters in power to binge on. Nayattu is just the visual representation of that. The enemies are not just the people across our boundaries, but also around us in our territories. Some brainwashed, some driven by their own greed. The climax is not hopeful, because the machinery running the game right now is not giving a chance to be. You either frame others, or you get framed, and there are no two ways to it.
Nayattu is a union of some iconic people from the Malayalam industry. The three leads are terrific, but also watch out for Yama Gilgamesh playing Anuradha, the officer chasing the three. She is fierce, and you cannot figure out what drives her. The mystery stays alive, and that hooks you to her. The writer-director duo creates a universe that is politically charged in the most relatable manner. Praveen’s mother is unwell, Maniyan has worked hard for his daughter, & Sunitha has to fight in order to reconstruct her own home.
Take out time and read the end credits. The number of masters of Malayalam cinema who have contributed is immense. To name some, the editing is done by C U Soon fame Mahesh Narayan. The gut-wrenching and doomed shaded cinematography is by Shyju Khalid. The music by Vishnu Vijay is enough to connect you to this world emotionally.
All in all, Nayattu is a film about corrupt machinery that does not let the honest stand tall with pride. It only knows breaking their legs to portray the world that they have to bend the knee. Shahi Kabir and Martin Prakkat are people with a sharp voice, and it is your duty that you make it hear wide and loud. I did my job; you do yours now!
Nayattu Star Rating: 4/5 Stars (Four Stars)
You can watch Nayattu on Netflix!