Breaking all stereotypes and doing away with clichés to offer an amazing theatrical experience is ‘Take Off’. This stunning movie is a landmark in Malayalam cinema and actually ushers in a new mode of making in its genre. While ‘Take Off’ is a thriller, its emotional quotient and sheer technical expertise to unfurl realistic incidents in an engaging manner within a limited budget is surely laudable.
Editor turned director Mahesh Narayanan has come good in this brilliantly crafted movie. Without being overtly dramatic and surpassing expectations of a predictable storyline he has narrated the story of Sameera (Parvathy) engagingly. The script by Mahesh along with P V Shajikumar is taut and never once flatters. The narrative feels like its been given shape over slow fire. The start is mellow and we get to see Sameera’s life in Kerala. What is remarkable is the fact that Mahesh has very forcefully rooted out stereotypical portrayal of nurses. The underpaid and underprivileged lot is given a voice.
Sameera is a divorcee who is having a tough time in her life. She is emotionally fragile, yet strong willed and determined. The duality in her character is very well brought out in the narrative. The strong part is witnessed in the war zone with her confrontation at the embassy and her will to know what befell Shahid (Kunchako Boban). The first part is from the perspective of Sameera. A lot of things come into focus here with her struggle to put food on the table for her family, the orthodox Muslim set up which later on shifts to the progressive one in Shahid, the one ally she finds in Shahid and the decision to go abroad. The scenes that unfurl are warm and realistic and engage with the emotions in a beautiful manner.
The great plus in the movie is how the makers have convincingly created Sameera, for us to empathise with her plight. She is our ‘every woman’, struggling to life a decent life. We find ourselves rooting for her throughout and her chaos becomes ours. As the movie progresses to the second half, the scenario in the civil war hit Tirkit, Iraq is well woven and the film takes a turn to become a thriller. The mayhem there is palpable as ISIS militants take over the hospital they work in. The incidents unraveling at the hospital is a revelation, since we are not often told the conditions through which the nurses have to go. So is the case with the embassy negotiations.
The cast has come off brilliantly with nuanced performances. Paravthy as Sameera packs a powerful performance. She is impressive with her emotional delivery and has handled the character with ease. Asif Ali in a cameo as her estranged husband is again perfect. Kunchako Boban is subtle in her portrayal of Shahid is also impressive as he never once overplays the emotions. In the second half, Fahadh Fassil as Manoj just steals the thunder as an efficient embassy officer. Technically one is astounded by the way in which the special effects look realistic and the war hit Tirkit resembles reality to a tee. Cinematography by Sanu John Varghese is specially good. Music by Shaan Rahman and Gopi Sunder is again perfect for the movie. Editing is neat.
‘Take Off’ has taken off brilliantly and this is a must watch. One can’t help but applaud when Fahadh Fassil declares, ‘Takes Off Confirmed’!.