If you remember Althaf Salim from Premam and Sakhaavu, you will walk out the theater with higher levels of respect for him. My levels were already up after watching his interviews on YouTube after the movie was hailed a success by everyone. How could such a young person ooze confidence and demonstrate clarity? It is a clear case of deceiving looks. The movie has an interesting title. Althaf and the movie have made it clear that the title was borrowed the novel written by Chandramathi. Even though the reference to crabs is abundant in the movie, I had to google to find out the significance which turned out to be a humbling experience for me. If you know the synopsis of the book, you can easily guess the plot. But knowing the plot is unimportant as Althaf concentrates on the journey of an entire family through turbulent times.
A patient requires support and not sympathy. An entire family undergoes an emotional journey in the time of illness even though only one person is affected by the malady. These are the two premises for the movie. During the initial few scenes itself, Althaf's command over the visual medium floors us speechless. The undercurrent of the movie is humor. To retain the undercurrent, Althaf has performed his magic on the writing table or the editing table. Regardless of where the magic happened, we should be thankful to Althaf. We will never uncover this truth unless we get hold of the original script. There are many instances where the movie could become melodramatic. Althaf has a fascinating way to deal with such situations. He does not show where the drama is at its peak. He cuts that part away. He builds the scene up to the point of confrontation. Then he cuts away to the aftermath. He doesn't show the encounter.
This film could have turned into a dull movie. Most of the movie happens in the indoors. The cinematographer, Mukesh Muraleedharan, lights up the scene without making it look ethereal but keeping it interesting enough. The editor, Dileep Dennies, has a significant role to play. The humor rests on the way the various scenes are cut and linked. There is a party scene which looks like a Quentin Tarantino like single shot which could also be a make-believe single shot by the director-cinematographer-editor trio. It is the background music which is a slight let down with melodramatic tunes at specific points in the movie as it negates the humor. The placement of this music might be intentional but could have been avoided. Luckily, there aren't many instances of melodramatic tunes. Finally, the dialogues need a special mention. They are so down to earth that it reminds us of the olden days of Malayalam cinema.
The movie is not complete without mentioning the stellar casts. Never in any frame do the cast lets us think they are trying hard to be the characters. The acting is not visible which makes the viewing more enjoyable. There is a time when the old guard changes and the new one takes charge. At that time, we look back at the old guard and feel their style of acting was unnatural. After watching this movie, I had the same feeling. Malayalam movie has a new breed of actors, and they possess a distinctive style. They are not paler shades of Mohanlal or Mammootty unlike most of the people who appeared in the 90s and hence. There are only two veterans - Lal and Shanthi Krishna. Although Saiju Kurup has been around for a long time, I will treat him differently as he has got a new lease of life with the new crop of directors. In addition to the above, everyone has performed well namely Nivin Pauly, Ahaana Krishna, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Srinda Arhaan, Dileesh Pothan and K.L.Antony Kochi. The notable mentions are Siju Wilson and Krishan Shankar because of their timing for comedy. Their style is different from what we have seen before. Siju Wilson has proved before he can do drama and comedy.
A good movie happens because of a person believes in a movie and invests money. Nivin Pauly deserves the credit. Also, he has not let his role overshadow anyone. It is a collective contribution. This movie will touch your hearts without making you cry. It also marks the arrival of Althaf Salim as a director. You will hear his voice in the Decathlon scene and catch a glimpse of him in the movie as a bystander during the interval secne.