Movie Review: North 24 Kaatham

After a hectic Onam riddled with hearty sadyas, a lot of payasam and running around to meet family and friends, we settled down to the first post-holiday peaceful, normal weekend. Which in our case means again more traveling around in the name of errands! And we had to watch a new movie for evening entertainment.

So there we were, settled down in our cushy seats, about to watch the laser show when a sudden panic seized me and I turned to DH and asked, "Oh God! This is a Fahad movie, was it safe to have brought the kids???" For a moment I saw my panic reflected in DH's eyes, but then he calmly replied, "I didn't see anything like that in the reviews..." So we decided to make the best of it and hoped that even if the kids asked us any awkward questions, they would do it pianissimo.

Thankfully, our fears were groundless for once. There was only one instance of a word that should have been bleeped IMHO. Otherwise, North 24 Kaatham is an eminently watchable movie. Harikrishnan (Fahad) is a brilliant software engineer who is the mainstay of his fledgling company. But the only one who likes and values him is his boss Sam, because Hari has OCD and is extremely anti-social. His family itself is barely tolerant of him. Hari's coworkers conspire to make him appear an utter failure in front of the company's clients and they make his boss send him on his own (Hari hates to travel and is scared of flying) from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram. 

On the train to Thiruvananthapuram, two strangers almost fall upon him. Gopalettan (Nedumudi Venu), an octogenarian comrade from Kozhikode and Nani (Swati Reddy), a social welfare trainee from Shornur. Bizarre circumstances tie them together and they undertake a journey to Kozhikode before next dawn - which happens to be a hartal day in Kerala. The movie is then a series of adventures that befall the trio as they make their way back north.

Yes, there are some elements of improbability. Yes, the end is highly predictable. Even then, we were riveted to the screen wondering what adventures were in store for the three at the next turn of the road. As all kinds of vehicles and the brisk use of their lower limbs bring Hari, Nani and Gopalettan to their destination, we too sigh with a sense of relief and homecoming tinged with the expected sadness. 

The movie thereafter becomes much more lighthearted, if in fact a little anticlimactic. But of course, it could not have ended with the hartal day's end. I think Malayalam should have a new movie genre from now on - it will certainly be unique - Hartal Movies. Yep, and North 24 Kaatham will be one of the better ones in it.

Verdict: Watchable.

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