Casting of the movie Nayattu: Kunchako Boban, Joju George, Nimisha Sajayan
Director Nayattu: Martin Prakkat
Classifications of Nayattu films: 3.5 stars
Nayattu, which means hunting, is a sad reflection of the times we live in. We are part of the period of human history when the truth seems to have little or no value. In the age of post-truth, we don’t want facts. We don’t want a case to be fully investigated to get to the bottom of it; all we want is a good show. We want a demonstration of justice without procedural fairness. Who gets justice (however superficial or imaginary) and who gets sent to prison depends on the political agenda of the time.
So, it is election season in Kerala. Members of government are busy idling their winning strategies and focusing fully on consolidating their voting base, while state governance takes a back seat. It is that time of year when even the lower cadres of a political party can make their demands. “Sir, after the election, please suspend these troublesome policemen,” a party official told the chief minister. It is not a request. It’s a polite order. And the almighty CM nods in affirmation, clenching his fist.
Kunchako Boban’s CPO Praveen Michael is assigned to a new police station, where he befriends ASI Maniyan (Joju George) and Agent Sunitha (Nimisha Sajayan). The three stand on top of each other and in the process they cross paths with a selfish youngster who belongs to a political formation that has ties to the government in power. The man in question never seems to miss an opportunity to rub him in the faces of the cops, as it makes him feel more powerful and gives meaning to his existence. The storyline is so dense that we could clearly see between the lines causing such a massive power imbalance between anyone and a group of cops, including high ranking officers.
Following an unfortunate incident, Praveen, Maniyan and Sunitha become the main suspects in a murder case. Spoiler alert: no one murdered anyone. Due to an unfortunate traffic accident, one of the government party workers died. Against his better judgment, Maniyan gives in to Praveen’s request and decides to take the injured motorist to the hospital and save his life. And it jeopardizes all of Praveen, Maniyan and Sunitha’s plans.
Praveen may have overcome her grief and married Sunitha. And Maniyan may have finally gone to his daughter’s school event. But, even in their wildest dreams, they never imagined that they would be the subject of a witch hunt led by their colleagues. Perhaps if there had been a fair system operating on objective facts, Praveen, Maniyan, and Sunitha might have continued to pursue the plans they had for themselves. But, in cases where the political masters dictate the results of the investigation, the facts and the justice system are the first victims.
Nayattu is as much a thriller as it is an indictment of the public’s failure to respect reasonableness. As long as the circus is good, you never really care what goes on behind the curtain. Writer Shahi Kabir’s strong and straightforward observations resonate with us, considering how power brokers use the media to stoke anger against a target that benefits them politically. Director Martin Prakkat did a terrific job of visually bringing out all of Kabir’s interesting sightings and painting a bigger picture of the system, which is bent to keep audiences in the dark.