Happy Monday! Let’s see if I can crank this post out before I fall asleep. Luckily, it is about a nice little movie that I don’t have to think about too much to be able to write about it.
This is the movie that I’ve always been kind of curious about when I see it flip by me on streaming sites just because the poster is all sunny and on a beach and nice and stuff. And it is in fact a movie that is all sunny and on a beach and nice and stuff. Plus, cute little baby Nivin back when he was just a pleasant part of an ensemble, not a rising major star. And kind of a nice message about fathers and daughters. But mostly, sunshine and sandy beaches.
It’s also a movie about Namitha Pramod. I have semi-randomly seen a lot of Namitha Pramod movies. Semi-randomly because they were all recommended to me because Namitha was a good actress so that part was on purpose, but then they all happened to be easily available streaming or on DVD so that part was random, out of all the movies recommended to me I saw a whole bunch of hers.
This is her second film, her first as a lead heroine. She was only 16, her previous movie she played a dying little girl, and in this one she played a strong powerful woman. A year later, at 16. And she is remarkable in this role. It’s too bad that she seems to have fallen into being Dileep’s heroine (am I seeing that right? Because, EW!!!!!!!) instead of having more heroine roles on her own.
What’s even more interesting is that this is not just a strong role for a woman, it is a strong woman she is playing. Not a passive victim, not a woman who struggles and finds her strength, but a woman who is already strong right from the start. And who is strong because she was never taught to be any other way, she had a father and a community around her who supported her and didn’t try to make her anything else.
And that’s how this is a father-daughter story, not about fathers who take care of daughters, but about fathers who make daughters strong and daughters who take care of their fathers. It’s not sappy about fathers being wise and wonderful and perfect all the time, or daughters always being loving and sentimental, and that’s what makes it ultimately very loving and sentimental. Because taking care of family, wanting family, even when they irritate you, is what makes it mean.
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Siddharth (I think) is a fisherman and a single father. When his daughter gets to be older, he worries about leaving her home alone, so he takes a radical decision and brings her with him and his crew on his fishing boat. The crew objects, but he says that she will be safer on the sea with him than on the land alone. And then he dies, leaving her orphaned.
Years later, we return to find that Namitha is now grown up and has her own fishing crew. She is tough and independent and respected. This is the gift her father gave her, instead of making her stay on land and locked up in a house, afraid, he brought her out into the world with him. Essentially, this is the point of “take your daughter to work day”. Which I think is just an American holiday? Anyway, the idea was to take daughters in particular to work with you and let them see what office life was like, to see what they might like to do, to get them out of the house and start them dreaming and planning for the future. And it worked, Namitha was orphaned, but she wasn’t alone, she already knew the fishing crew, she inherited her father’s boat and knew how to use it, she was okay.
And so rather than needing a father to rescue her, she is the one to rescue a father. Nedumudi, who is rescued from drowning by her crew. He tells a story of a family that threw him out, and Namitha takes pity on him. Their relationship has ups and downs, he surprises her with an expensive birthday celebration, only to reveal that he stole the money for it from her. He turns one of their expensive fish nets into a hammock. And she reacts not with soft loving understanding like a usual heroine, but rather blunt frustrated patience. And Nedumudi gives her not wise advice and mature wisdom like the usual fathers on films, but instead clumsy attempts to arrange her wedding and confusing miscommunication.
And life goes on around them. Nivin is there, the schoolmaster who reads English for the villagers. He is young and cute and clearly has a thing for Namitha. He is the only one of the crew who thinks of her that way, which (I think) is normal. These are guys she has known her whole life, some of them just see her as a friend, some of them admire her as their captain, and one of them has a crush on her. And she maybe has a crush on him, but she has a lot of other stuff going on in her life. Their relationship moves forward in starts and stops, Nivin is offered a role in a movie being filmed nearby and leaves for a while, she pretends not to miss him, he dreams of her while singing his movie song.
The only other small plot is the effort to solve the mystery of who Nedumudi is. His story keeps changing, he goes from saying he is on the run from his murderous son to saying he is the wealthy powerful father of two movie producers. Until he snaps, when he sees Nivin trying to pull Namitha into a cab to take her to a surprise. He misinterprets Namitha’s laughing protests as fear and grabs a bat to drive Nivin away. Namitha manages to calm him down and they take him to the priest/doctor (?) who identifies Nedumudi as criminally and dangerously insane. He escaped from an asylum before Namitha found him. But Namitha’s patience and acceptance have kept him safe until now, stopped him from violence and blunted his delusions.
I don’t like it when “love” is the magical cure for mental illness, but it makes sense in this case. Nedumudi needed security and stability in his life, and that is what Namitha gave him, just as her father gave it to her. Specifically, he needed the stability of a daughter. That is what he lost in the first place, his daughter was killed and his mind snapped. He started taking on the lives of other people he knew because his own past was too painful to face. But Namitha gave him back a life of his own, he might not be able to face the past, but with her he could face the future.
And so it ends where it began. Namitha makes the same decision and finds the same solution her father did. She will take Nedumudi out on the boat with her, because he will be safer with her on the sea than he would be alone on the land.
Oh, and also, Nivin and Namitha get together. But that’s less important.