As we continue on my never ending journey through the vast genre of the Indian film industry I’m back with another Malaylaam film from the Southern state of Kerala. This film was watched upon a recommendation and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Read on more to know the details, plot and my spoiler free take on the movie! And like I always I do not intend to talk just on the technicilities or critique the movie but want to see what the film makers are trying to show us here as well. At least from my point of view.
Country of origin : India
Language : Malayalam
Directed by : Soubin Shahir
Written by : Soubin Shahir, Shahir, Muneer Ali
Starring : Amal Shah, Govind V Pai, Dulquer Salman, Shane Nigam, Amal Sheeraz, Soubin Shahir, Shine Tom Chacko, Sreenath Bhasi, Srinda, Siddique
Music by : Rex Vijayan
Cinematography : Little Swayamp
Released : 21 September 2017
Duration : 127 minutes
This movie in my opinion is the culmination of three parts which are independent but co-existing in the same story. So I think it would be better I explain it separately.
Part 1 – The Birds and The Kids
The main premise of this movie revolves around two school kids – Haseeb and Irshad who is also known as “Ichaapi”.
The two are obviously friends, go to the same school and have a combined hobby in taking pigeons in the town of Mattancherry where they live. It’s not just the boys that rear these pigeons but it seems to be a thing in the area where this story is set with the best pigeons racing and winning literal competitions. The movie tells the story of how the two boys try their best to grow their prized birds especially a strong female pigeon amidst struggles of the competition, their birds getting stolen and the boys taking it into their passion amidst all the odds that are put up against them.
Part 2 – Ichappi’s brother and Imran
This part of the story is actually a back story that leads to the premise onto which our film begins. Ichappi’s elder brother Shane belongs to a cricket club where Imran, played by Dulquer Salman is an active member. Imran is that boy every parents love. He’s a good friend, a good member of the society and what not. He even helps Shane fix things up for his marriage with a girl he likes.
However Shane ends up in an argument with two drug addicts in the locality which leads to adverse results. The results which I am not going to spoil here! The fight starts outside a medical shop where they have gone to pick a fight with a man who verballyy abused a girl they know. Somehow the two drug addicts get stuck in this fight and then of course it gets personal which leads to this part of the story. By the end of this backstory, Shane withdraws from society totally and even goes to a situation where he and his father do not even speak to each other – this is the situation our movie starts at too.
Part 3 – Ichappi’s Love Story
You might be wondering what love story a school kid would have but no it’s nothing huge or serious but I included it as a part of the movie because it did take a significant part of the movie and focused on one weird part that made me uncomfortable – Child marriage.
That’s the reason I felt it took an adequate part in this movie as well. And it’s a big takeaway from this movie because it’s still prevalent in our societies these kinds of evils.
Now onto the review! Let’s start with the parts that I really liked. The first is the setting of Mattancherry. Although I don’t know how much it can relate to people who are not familiar with the area, and the style of the people there, the setting of the movie really fuelled how the story went through. I loved the whole story built on the story of the pigeons. To an extent you can even say the story was based on the birds than the characters due to the heavy influence and screen time that it had.
Speaking of the birds and the characters let’s go into the actors. The two child actors who played the kids did a great job. They adapted and took the mannerisms of the people and it’s settings and their performance was very authentic and without any hiccups. Regarding the character of Shane, he too did well, especially for the fact that he had to act out different phases of his character – at one point he’s the happy boy with ten happy life, but in another part of the film, he’s depressed and doesn’t mingle with anyone not even his own family. A special mention for Dulquer Salman’s cameo as well. The best part of the film was that no character really took over another.
Now like I said before as much as I enjoyed the cinematography of the film it did feel rather sluggish at some points and maybe dragged. Soubin Shahir’s directional efforts were good and although I wouldn’t say it was excellent it was a very good attempt.
Now onto two important things that were covered in this movie that I feel ought to be talked out – one is toxic masculinity, although not a direct mention or reference in this movie it really struck my thoughts as I watched the movie. To be honest if those guys didn’t go for a bawl and a fight over the verbal abuse issue and went with a more sensible and logical approach things wouldn’t have been this problematic. It’s a problem that’s quite prevalent. Fighting out things, and boys will be boys – these kinds of mindsets are as dangerous as the thoughts that say the place of a woman is in the kitchen. I mean why do we assign roles and responsibilities at all? Why can’t we be of our own free will and celebrate our unique identity? Why can’t we?
If there’s any way we can teach the boys and girls of today that harming and fighting is not the solution and that a good human is not made from the number of successful fights they’ve won, I think our world will definitely be at a better place. Don’t you think so too?
Also about child marriage. Honestly speaking in India although the marriageable age of women are 18, I’m all for making it higher because I honestly don’t know a girl is prepared for marriage either mentally,or physically at the age of a mere eighteen. This topic is of course a continuation of what I said before – assigning a role to a girl that it’s her duty to be married, a good wife, makes food all the time in the kitchen and must heed by everyone is just an idea that’s way past it’s expiry date.
It’s never too late to change, it’s never too late to speak out and I urge you all to make the smallest changes in your life that can lead to the betterment of issues like this.
I think that when you watch this film you will get these thoughts a lot too as it really plays out. I’ve found that some good subtitled versions of this movie are available on Indian streaming platforms like Hotstar, so do give it a try. I do recommend. Its a pleasant and easy watch nothing too strenuous.
Do let me know what you feel in the comments as well!