Movie Review: Nilaakaasum, Pacha Kadal, Chuvvanna Bhoomi (Blue Skies, Green Seas, Red Earth): Best of 2013.

Best of 2013: I am unearthing gems in terms of books & movies that released in 2013.

A road movie? Made in Malayalam? Really? Motorcycle Diaries meets Thattu-kada Communism?

I couldn’t stop my jaws from hinging wide open when I first chanced upon this movie called Nilaakaasum, Pacha Kadal, Chuvvanna Bhoomi (also known as blue sky, green sea, red earth). I mean what an evocative title huh. Can they come more descriptive than this? A title that connects and tugs at your heartstrings. More than anything it flares up that urge to swing a backpack and go exploring our lovely country. Where every five miles the scenery would shift and so would the language and dialect and the delectable food. No, this is not an entry for a lonely planet column. But Vardhan Kondvikar would have been damn proud of this movie. As I am and pretty much everyone I think who’s probably seen this movie.  I was in love the title and looked forward to watch this movie with an interest rivalling that of Pavlov’s dog waiting for the bell. With  the folks back home in Kerala becoming more experimental and avant-garde in their movie-making, this new wave of film makers are indeed making a bright splash all over the country. All the right noises and the right execution, I have very high hopes for this industry now!

So before I go further, let me put this straight down. This movie is an experience. Transcendental doesn’t even quite cover it. A delightful movie shot at haunting mesmerizing locales that twists and meanders along, pretty much like the road that the characters follow across the whole of the nation, stopping awhile to rest and treat your senses to an atmospheric tale of a young man in pursuit of happiness. It’s quite the package in terms of the brilliant cinematography, the rocking music and the tight beautiful script. Absolutely top class. So hop on and let your senses wander.

So Samir Tahir’s second movie doesn’t quite fit into the “typical” movie mould. A finesse that belies the fact that this is only his second directorial venture backed by a flawless script from Hashir Mohammed and some exquisite riveting visuals that will blow your mind, the movie is multilingual. Effortlessly embracing Tamil, Hindi, Bengali and even Naga dialects thrown in for good measure. Shot across India, starting from Thrissur to the tip of North-East Nagaland, this movie is definitely the quintessential road movie. 

Two boys out on their rumbling bullets – searching for truths that would transform them – sounds like Motorcycle Diaries? Well, while the protagonists of the famous South American movie are driven by new found ideals, this movie features two youngsters who are happy to take the winding meandering roads to avoid the some painful memories and start afresh. And the road experience does indeed transform them. From idling at rave parties and learning to paddle-surf on the beaches of Puri to helping set up an automated flour-mill in the backward villages of Bimanghat near Kolkatta and experiencing the communal riots of naxal-infested Assam villages. The movie moves like a fast flowing river – twisting and forking past boulders, never a dull moment as Dulquer Salman and Sunny Wayne (sharing an amazing camaraderie, picking up where they left off in their first outing, Second Show) bring a winsome charm to the roles of the two youngsters. While Dulquer displays all the emotional turmoil of a confused hurt youngster out to erase some painful memories and then realize the key to his own happiness, Sunny plays his loyal friend who is the calming steadying influence in his life, following his best friend without any questions asked. It’s a gifted performance by these two – displaying a rare maturity, underplaying their emotions and bringing these two characters to life on the screen with a natural grace. Absolutely fantastic performance. All the characters whom they meet on the road also are very deftly etched out and played to perfection by a multitude of talented actors from across India. His love interest, Assi – played by Manipuri girl Surja Bala brings a restrained charm and freshness to the college heroine and is a pleasure to watch.

It is a love story at the most basic level – the flashes of backstory crisp and fluent in its handling, effectively conveying the depth in spite of the lack of too much dialogs. The movie also touches upon the political situations across various states of the East without getting heavy handed, effortlessly folding them into the narrative – the ever-perceptive Kassi, the lead character would get some indelible lesson etched into his mind and write that into his travel diary at every juncture. His voice-over is expressive and apt for story telling – weaving in an emotional touch to the proceedings.

You can almost smell the ocean and the clean pristine sands of Puri, blink and be mesmerized by the twinkling city lights at the bottom of the valley in West Bengal, watch the black meandering road snaking into the mountains amidst the lovely roiling wafts of fog in the colder stretches of North-East and feel the cold. The sheer energy and vast scope of this movie is just brilliant. As I said before, it is an experience you shouldn't miss out. One of the best movies of 2013. 


Sachin said…
Fantastic movie...and a nicely written review as well!!
Sachin Dev T said…
Thanks buddy :) in the process of devouring other such gems, North 24 Kanthum, Paisa Paisa, Left Right Left too many good mallu movies out last year!

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