Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam movie review: Director Senna Hegde has infused every frame with a lot of energy and original thinking, giving a fresh perspective on a very familiar premise.

How to lose a marriage proposal instantly in Kerala? Simple, the girl has to project herself as a feminist.

In Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam, a man flies from Dubai to tie the knot with an “innocent” (read docile) girl, who grew up in Kerala’s countryside. The man meets the prospective bride and immediately likes her. He has written a set of questions on a piece of paper. One of the questions is whether she believes in God? The girl says “yes.”

The man adds, “Even I am a believer. I often visit the temple.” The girl, in turn, responds, “Me too. Today morning I visited the temple. Next year, I want to visit Sabarimala temple.” Boom! The man is caught off-guard and the deeply misogynistic man may leave now, never to return. This is the point he realises that the girl is not that docile after all.

But, the man manages to recover from the shock quickly and gathers his wit. “You’re teasing me right?” He sees through her answers. As if he knows that growing up under the thumb of an authoritarian father, she would not know the first thing about free will. As it turns out, Suja is indeed lying about visiting Sabarimala temple. Later on in the movie, she even apologizes to Lord Ayyappa, for her impertinence. All she wanted was to trick the man into believing that the rising tide of feminism in Kerala has corrupted her mind and she is unlikely to be content with her place in the kitchen. That she may even demand equal rights. But, her efforts are in vain.

For Suja’s father Vijayan, this engagement is a matter of his pride and re-establishing his authority, which took a beating when his elder daughter rebelled against him to marry the man of her choice. At no cost, he’s willing to accept the defeat in the marriage of his younger daughter. He wants to show everyone who’s in charge in his house. His house, his rules.

Vijayan doesn’t even bother to know whether or not Suja liked the prospective groom. The groom’s family okays the girl and asks Vijayan to fix the engagement in two days as the groom needs to return to Dubai soon. Vijayan calls in all favours to make the engagement happen at such a short notice, forcing Suja to make some harsh and life-altering decisions.

Director Senna Hegde has infused every frame with a lot of energy and original thinking, offering a fresh perspective to a very familiar premise. Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam, which means ‘Monday is the engagement’, is not the first film with a girl planning to elope with her lover. But, the ingenious writing captures the subtle but never-ending flow of humour in mundane things, making this film surprisingly engaging and refreshing.

Cinematographer Sreeraj Raveendran’s frames are always bustling with activities while giving us an aesthetically closer view of life in the countryside. Some of the scenes play out in the dark. While we feel anxious, the characters are perfectly comfortable with moving around in pitch darkness. The director wants us to also experience their way of life.

Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam is deeply ingrained in Kerala’s nadan (traditional) lifestyle. The slang, the dense green cover around the house, the food habits, the everyday delicacies, friendships, politics in the family, politics in society and the way of life. It is not a film about a father doing evil things for the sake of his masculine pride. Instead, it is the story of a man who firmly believes in the tenets of patriarchal society, but is finally starting to accept that the times have changed and he’s not entitled to control the will and desire of his children.

More importantly, Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam has no popular faces. And yet, every actor has delivered a realized and relatable performance. Not that we have had enough of the outstanding performances of the actors brought in by the new wave of Malayalam cinema. But, it is refreshing to discover such new and promising talents and enjoy a Malayalam film without the likes of Fahadh Faasil, Suraj Venjaramoodu, or Nimisha Sajayan in it.

Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam had bagged two Kerala State Film Awards in the Second Best Film and the Best Story categories.

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