“Love Action Drama”… An utterly dreadful romance that gets dreadfuller by the minute

Posted on October 8, 2019

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The film is an unholy mess. It feels like a 9-year-old’s attempt to write a deep treatise on life and love.

Spoilers ahead…

I think they wanted to make a movie about a man-child, a jolly drunk who’s rich and entitled and thinks he should have whichever woman he wants. He does man-childish things, like wearing black and saying he’s making a trip to Sabarimala. (Translation: No booze!) Or else, he zips off on his bike to that place people go to when they’re lost and need to find themselves. (This place, somehow, always seems to be filled with hippie-types from abroad.) The man-child’s name is Dinesh, which I hear is a nod by director Dhyan Sreenivasan to his father’s 1989 dramedy, Vadakkunokkiyanthram. The protagonist of that film was named Dineshan. The heroine, too, takes her name from the older film: Shobha. So you have two very appealing stars – Nivin Pauly, Nayanthara – in these parts, and in love. What can go wrong, right?

Well, everything, apparently. Love Action Drama is an unholy mess. It feels like a 9-year-old’s attempt to write a deep treatise on life and love. Dinesh talks to his “papa” in the sky, and you think this is going to be a thing with him. But it’s just a thing to fill up a few minutes, like Shobha saying she’s afraid of commitment. The subject never comes up again. We’re meant to go along with the “hip” and “cool” vibe of it all, but I found it excruciating. My favourite so-bad-it’s-worse scene comes when Shobha and Dinesh break up. She’s on the phone, shedding tears. He’s doing some slapsticky Tom and Jerry routine with his pal, played by Aju Varghese. What this beautiful, successful woman sees in this loser is a question we’re not supposed to ask. He’s Nivin Pauly. Who wouldn’t fall for him!

Shobha says she will change Dinesh. I began to wonder why she (a) needs to do this, and (b) thinks she can do this,  and then I stopped myself. It’s just to fill up a few more minutes. Some scenes don’t have a proper start or finish. Many other scenes don’t even have a reason to exist. There’s no rhythm in the staging or the performances. It feels like they all showed up on the set each day, and decided to do whatever they wanted. The worst plot point has Dinesh suspecting Shobha of sleeping around because – get this! – some random man on the street says something about her. This is a big subplot. It deserves a big resolution. And what happens? Apparently, all Shobha needs is for Dinesh to make puppy-eyes at her. At a time Malayalam cinema has become most visible, the most sought-out cinema among cinephiles, Love Action Drama is saying: Don’t get your hopes up. We make a lot of crap, too.

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