Mera Naam Shaji Review: an okay film for shallow viewers
Glorification of misogyny came under the radar in the last couple of years as the cinema discussions in the social media platform took the initiative to finally talk about it. Too many off-screen events happened and some writers like Renji Panicker even admitted that some of his dialogues were sexist. I am talking about all this for a review about a so-called simple comedy movie Mera Naam Shaji because the movie has a scene where the hero teaches discipline and character to a woman by saying all the patriarchal crap and walks away in slow-motion. For a nonthinking viewer, Mera Naam Shaji might be an okay film, but anyone who is concerned about what this movie tries to convey Mera Naam Shaji is a pathetic film.
Three Shaji’s are our main protagonists; a goon from Kozhikode, a jobless guy from Ernakulam and a taxi driver from Thiruvananthapuram. The movie becomes interesting when Kozhikode Shaji’s money ends up with the crooked Ernakulam Shaji. The journey of Kozhikode Shaji to get that money and what all events happen in between is what Mera Naam Shaji showing us.
The dialogue jokes that are there in every corner of the film might keep you occupied. But these jokes aren’t that memorable. If you were a fan of Oru Pazhaya Bomb Kadha, then there are chances that this movie may please you. The quality of comedy in Mera Naam Shaji is very similar to that film. The Trivandrum Shaji is actually of no great use to this film and the naming thing also doesn’t really contribute largely to the movie. There is no long life to the comedy we witness here. The forced comedy makes the movie a desperate package rather than an organically developed entertainer.
Biju Menon has his usual heroic shades and humor timing to save the film considerably. But his Kozhikode slang was unreal. Asif Ali should definitely think about selecting different characters and this jobless young man persona is becoming really repetitive. The goodness in the Shaji character offered to Baiju was slightly surprising and the actor was fluent in the role. Nikhila Vimal finished her part largely using only one sad expression. KB Ganesh Kumar and Sreenivasan are the other two important yet not so memorable characters.
Nadirshah seems to have not understood why his previous films worked at the box office. The humor was engaging, fresh and it stayed close to the story the movie was trying to say. Here the story itself is a brittle one. So to save it, Dileep Ponnan the writer is adding jokes. The restaurant scene featuring Dharmajan is one good example of such kind of writing. The mumbling dialogues are the sources of this movie’s comedy. The male dominant attitude is getting celebrated here and that’s a sad thing to see. Technical aspects of this film are on the duller side.
The forgiveness of the audience towards misogynistic scenes will only encourage writers, directors, and actors to do more movies that will celebrate male chauvinism. Mera Naam Shaji might look like an okay film from the outside, but deep inside it is a venomous agenda.
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