‘Sureshanteyum Sumalathayudeyum Hrudayahariyaya Pranayakadha’ movie review: The narrative and superb acting get interrupted by too many deviations

Rajesh Madhavan and Chithra S Nair in a scene from Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval’s ‘Sureshanteyum Sumalathayudeyum Hrudayahariyaya Pranayakadha’
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Directed by Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval, Sureshanteyum Sumalathayudeyum Hrudayahariyaya Pranayakadha narrates an enchanting love story packed with excitement, soundtracks, humor, insightful dialogues, and captivating instances.

This stand-alone extension of Ratheesh’s acclaimed Nna Thaan Case Kodu delves into the blossoming romance between characters Sureshan and Sumalatha, who previously featured as secondary roles in the first film.

The opening scenes welcome viewers to Suresh’s return to his hometown for his grandmother’s funeral, which also becomes the occasion for his reunion with his family after years of absence. These early exchanges hint at Suresh’s mysterious departure and long-term disappearance.

Back in his village, the relationship between Suresh and Sumalatha picks up once more. On a friend’s advice, Suresh decides to direct a play, hoping to charm Sumalatha’s father, Sudhakaran Nair, by offering him the lead role. Throughout this journey, the world of theatre plays a critical role in the narrative, creating high points with Ratheesh’s script cleverly incorporating the theatrical backdrop.

The film’s soundtrack, which includes traditional Keralite theatre songs arranged by Dawn Vincent, attempts to bolster not just the narrative but the cinematic experience as a whole.

Sureshanteyum Sumalathayudeyum Hrudayahariyaya Pranayakadha

Director: Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval

Cast: Rajesh Madhavan, Chithra S Nair, Sudheesh, Sharanya, Jinu

Storyline: Auto-rickshaw driver Sureshan and school teacher Sumalatha are deeply in love, but her father Sudhakaran’s caste prejudice stands in the way. Sureshan hatches a plan to produce a play to win over the theatre-enthusiast father. Will his plan work?

An emblematic song from the beloved film Njan Gandharvan is, once again, expertly used by Ratheesh to enhance the story’s emotional impact.

The movie’s bold narrative, shuffling timeframes, and non-linear structure, create an uneven journey, especially considering the extensive cast and subplots, all within a runtime of just over two hours.

While the love story remains central, it often gets eclipsed by numerous comedic elements including sharp quips addressing the contemporary political landscape and outdated societal norms. The film introduces a spectrum of eccentric characters, some who speak English and even Hindi.

The first act accelerates as Sureshan endeavors to rekindle the community’s dormant theatrical passion. The casting is exceptional, each character leaving a lasting impression, while the cinematography deftly captures the richness of the setting.

In the second half, the filmmaker hastily attempts to weave together various narratives, all while trying not to distract from the romance at the heart of the story. However, challenging obstacles surface with Sudhakaran (flawlessly portrayed by Sudheesh) putting up resistance to his daughter’s affair due to caste differences. A guest appearance by Kunchacko Boban as Kozhummal Rajeevan temporarily draws the viewers’ attention elsewhere.

Returning as Sureshan and Sumalatha, Rajesh Madhavan and Chithra S Nair deliver powerful performances. Their compelling portrayal, together with the film’s outstanding technical craftsmanship, ensures the cinema experience is a treat. The precise detailing in costumes, choreography, artistic direction, and music all align perfectly.

With Ratheesh’s warm embrace of the theatre culture and the actors’ exemplary performances, the stage is honored. Nonetheless, the film’s propensity for overindulgence in narrative experiments, alongside the frequent diversions from the principal plotline, might make it challenging for viewers to feel fully connected to the protagonists.

Sureshanteyum Sumalathayudeyum Hrudayahariyaya Pranayakadha is currently available for viewing in theatres.

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