Nizhal is the first directorial venture of Appu. N. Bhattathiri, who has won several accolades as an Editor including the state award for Ozhivudivasathe Kali and Veeram in 2017. It starts in great fashion with some arresting visuals and the premises built up for a splendid finale. But due to some uninspiring storytelling in the second half and undeveloped characters it takes a complete U-turn from a promising first half.
John Baby is a Munsiff Magistrate who had a recent accident and is still struggling with the traumatic aftereffects of the accident. He has to wear a face mask until he recovers fully from an injured nose giving him a Batman look. As he struggles to continue his official life after the medical leave, his friend Shalini, a child psychologist, shares him the story of one of her patients. It is about an eight year old school boy Nitin who shared a murder story to his class, which terrified the teachers and other students. Shalini suspects some issue with the boy and John draws a comparison between his situation and the boy’s. This sets him on an investigation about the boy’s story and ends up finding links to murders that has happened several years back. Boy’s mother Sharmila, though hesitant initially, agreed to co-operate with John’s unofficial investigation as he strikes a chord with the boy because of his ways and the Batman look. Thus, the initial setup was intriguing and built up for a chilling thriller.
But things soon changes for the worse. Where Nizhal falters is the lack of storytelling that is needed to build on this thread. The developments in the second half turned out to be uninspiring and lacked the wow factor which is needed for a thriller. Moreover, all of the major characters were undeveloped. Even though script didn’t demand much, Kunjacko Boban was successful in bringing out the inner turmoils of Baby with what was another matured performance from the actor. The character Sharmila was criminally underwritten and never used the actress in Nayantara, though she did look gorgeous and showed flashes of what she can do in a couple of scenes. Divyaprabha as Shalini was strictly ok but struggled with her dialogue delivery on several occasions.
Nizhal fails to live up to the expectations it created with its build up and finally end up as a geek show. But it can surely be watched for its premises and the eye catching visuals and I am sure Appu N Bhatathiri will be directing a winner soon with a more effective screenplay.