The first thing that strikes you while watching the initial promos of Love Action Drama are the names of the characters of Nivin Pauly and Nayanthara—Dineshan and Shobha. Does that ring a bell? Who can forget the Sreenivasan-starrer Vadakkunokkiyantram, a social satire that featured Parvathy in the lead. Three decades later, it’s still fresh in our minds and hence, there’s a natural curiosity to see how Love Action Drama will play out—doesn’t fail—the sub-plot is similar. However, few minutes into the film and you know that this is straight out of the Vineeth Sreenivasan school of film-making.
That’s not surprising either, given that this is the directorial debut of his brother Dhyan Sreenivasan who goes a notch above his sibling in trying to give the Malayalam rom-com a Bollywoodish touch which is executed beautifully by the frames provided by Jomon T John and Roby Varghese Raj. Add to this the highly reliable Shaan Rahman’s music and background scores, and you have a product that’s not far off from its Bollywood counterparts in the genre. To begin with, the film has that predictable one line storyline that’s been done to death earlier and is attempted once more by Dhyan and Co.
Dineshan (Nivin Pauly) is a jobless and happy-go-lucky fellow whose primary goal in life is to get drunk and have a jolly good time. Sagar (Aju Varghese), is a distant relative and Dineshan’s partner-in-crime as well. It’s a Tom-and-Jerry equation between the two as they go around clowning. During a cousin Swathy’s (Durga Krishna) wedding Dineshan spots Shobha (Nayanthara), a working woman based in Chennai. It’s love-at-first sight for our hero who has had a history of failed relationships, including one with Swathy.
As expected, the worlds of Dineshan and Shobha are poles apart, but yet there’s a spark that tells you that it has all possibilities of a romance. But will their romance stand last in this modern world where relationships are as fragile as glass? This forms the crux of Love Action Drama which also has a very dramatic climax followed by the famous feel-good sequences that you’ve seen a lot in Bollywood rom-coms from the Dharma and Yash Raj production houses. So, will the film work for a Kerala audience?
Yes it will, albeit not a resounding one at that. Few minutes into the film and it’s clear that Dhyan (who has also written the script) doesn’t have a clear-cut story to tell. It’s an outdated theme and hence relies totally on the performances of the lead pair and the humor they create. This is where the film succeeds, as Nivin Pauly looks the part as the clueless young man who has no aim in life—he’s in his comfort zone and he seems to relish it all, even hitting the ball out of the park in some of the comedy scenes with Aju Varghese.
Nayanthara is solid as the bold and beautiful Shobha who unlike Dineshan, is focussed on what she wants from life. She looks stunning and also emotes with effortless ease. Her chemistry with Nivin Pauly is endearing and that keeps the film going with a few mad cap comedy sequences with Aju Varghese thrown in. The light-hearted treatment of the films keeps one entertained and there are a few scenes that take the hilarity to a high note.
Dhyan’s packaging means that the film reaches the finish line smoothly despite the odd bump in between. It’s refreshing to see Nivin back doing what he does best—entertain in humor-filled films. Since his 2017 release Njandukkalde Naatil Oridavela, which was also an Onam release, he had tried some diverse-themed films which had miscast him, none more than his previous outing Mikhael. Comedy entertainers are definitely Nivin’s forte and it’s his comic timing coupled with the photography and music that make Love Action Drama a festive entertainer that should strike a chord with the families this Onam season.