Through this narrative in which the hunters become the hunted, Shahi Kabir and Martin Prakkat focus on telling a story filled with layers that reveal the futility of a system that is supposed to protect the people and how truth and duty matter less when confronted by hierarchy
In a gripping scene from Nayattu, police officer Maniyan (Joju George), who along with constables Praveen Michael (Kunchacko Boban) and Sunitha (Nimisha Sajayan) are being chased by their own, explains how the system is going to twist the truth for political gains and how they will end up paying the price for it. Maniyan is distraught and helpless because he too has been the doing the same thing – as a previous scene would indicate – and is fully aware, just moments into the chase, that their attempt to escape their dire predicament would be futile. The scene potence lies in the fact that Maniyan being the most experienced among the three, is the first to lose hope.
The story of director Martin Prakkat’s thriller is set just days ahead of the elections in the State. The mood in the trio’s police station is already tense because of the work and their personal problems. Amid this, Praveen and Maniyan get into a scuffle at the station with Sunitha’s unruly relative, who is also a member from a caste-based party. Things, however, take a serious turn when they get into an accident later that day and are forced to go on the run.
Through this narrative in which the hunters become the hunted, Joseph scriptwriter Shahi Kabir and director Martin Prakkat focus on telling a story filled with layers that reveal the futility of a system that is supposed to protect the people, how truth and duty matter less when confronted by hierarchy and how dispensable each selflessly-serving cog is to the machinery. Shahi’s script is the strength of the film, and the research done keeps the film rooted to reality, unlike Prakkat’s previous movies such as Charlie and Best Actor.
Kunchacko Boban plays the role of the newly-joined CPO, an idealist who is constantly bossed around, with restraint at the start. This makes his few bursts of anger throughout the film all the more effective and intense. Joju George shines again as the senior officer, who is on the edge and is caught between the thoughts of how the twisted system would seal their fates and the realisation of how he got his priorities between family and work wrong. It’s through his role as Maniyan that the makers drive home the points of systemic corruption, again and again. Nimisha essays Sunitha in a subdued manner, adding emotional heft to the story, while Yama Gilgamesh, as IPS officer Anuradha Sriram who chases the trio, ably shows the pressures that cops have to face.
Cinematographer Shyju Khalid’s visuals lend the sombre mood to this hard-hitting political thriller, where Prakkat uses every minute effectively to shed light on issues plaguing the system and the people. What makes Nayattu a must watch is its relevance especially at a time when truth is often tampered with by those in power, without being held accountable.