Nayattu movie director: Martin Prakkat
Nayattu movie ratings: 3.5 star
Nayattu, which means the hunt, is a sad reflection of the times we live in. We are part of the period in human history where truth seems to have little or no value. In the post-truth era, we don’t want facts. We don’t want a thorough investigation into a case to get to the bottom of it; all we want is a good show. We want a show of justice without procedural fairness. Who gets justice (however shallow or imaginary it might be) and who gets sent to jail depends on the political agenda of the time.
So, it is election season in Kerala. The people in the government are busy chalking their winning strategies and fully focused on consolidating their vote base, while the governance of the state takes a back seat. It is that time of the year, where even low-ranking cadres in a political party get to make their demands. “Sir, after the election, please get those troublesome police officers suspended,” tells a party functionary to the chief minister. It is not a request. It is a polite order. And the all-powerful CM nods his head in affirmation while clenching his fist.
Kunchako Boban’s CPO Praveen Michael gets posted to a new police station, where he becomes friends with ASI Maniyan (Joju George) and constable Sunitha (Nimisha Sajayan). The three stand by each other and in the process, they cross an egoistical youngster who belongs to a political outfit that has ties with the government in power. The man in question never seems to miss an opportunity to rub it in the faces of cops, given it makes him feel more powerful and gives meaning to his existence. The script is so dense that we could clearly see between the lines, what is causing such a massive power imbalance between a nobody and a bunch of cops, including high-ranking officers.
Following an unfortunate incident, Praveen, Maniyan and Sunitha become prime suspects in a murder case. Spoiler alert: nobody murdered anybody. Due to an unfortunate road accident, one of the party workers of the government dies. Against his best judgment, Maniyan gives in to Praveen’s request and decides to take the injured motorist to the hospital and save his life. And that jeopardizes all the plans of Praveen, Maniyan and Sunitha.
Praveen may have overcome his heartbreak and married Sunitha. And Maniyan may have finally gone to his daughter’s school event. But, even in their wildest dreams, they would have never imagined that they would become the subject of a witch hunt spearheaded by their colleagues. Maybe, if there had been a fair system that functioned on objective facts, Praveen, Maniyan and Sunitha may have continued to pursue the plans they had for themselves. But, in cases, where political masters dictate the outcomes of the investigation, facts and justice are the first casualties.
Nayattu is as much a thriller as it is the indictment of the failure of the public to be reasonable. As long as the circus is good, we never really care what’s going behind the curtain. Writer Shahi Kabir’s strong and direct observations resonate with us considering how the power brokers use the media to whip up anger against a target that benefits them politically. Director Martin Prakkat has done a terrific job in visually bringing out all the keen observations of Kabir and painting a bigger picture of the system, which is bent to keep the public in dark.