Hey Jude Malayalam Film Review: Take a Sad Story and Make it Better

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As the lyrics go in the Beatles song “Hey Jude”, Shyamaprasad took a sad story, this time to make it better. With the hero and the heroine, equal in shortcomings and amazing in the chemistry together, the film marked a serious phase in Nivin’s acting career and proved once again that Shyamaprasad’s characters can get under our skin each time.

The cast was not new to the Malayalam audience- Siddique in father’s role, Nivin Pauly as the troubled young man, Nina Kurup as the doting mother and Trisha as Jude’s love interest. Yet how the filmmaker designed each character is where creativity lies. Jude is the sluggish and seemingly autistic young man who gets bullied at work and in society. Dominique (Siddique) is the thrifty father who makes each dime by selling fake antiques to the tourists. The Anglo Indian family with all its anticipated weirdness Shyamaprasad usually paints with is thrown to Goa and it turns out to be Jude’s paradise.

Shyamaprasad’s works, in his own words, are compared as ‘chamber music-minimal compositions’ confined to space and restricted to three or four characters but with a detailed sensitivity (naveenamariamjacob.wordpress.com). The director is known for his adherence to classical rules when it comes to the narrative structure of his films and admitted to have modelled his works on Western or Sanskrit theatres and their linear narrative structure.

When the setup of the plot presents Jude in all his peculiarities, the confrontation begins with the family’s unexpected trip to Goa due to an emergency- a relative’s accidental death by a coconut..! As ridiculous as it may sound like the death of Dr.Urbino of García Márquez, one quickly remembers the relevance of ‘coconut’ here- the emblem on the Apple record of Beatles song “Hey Jude” in 1968.

Jude is the mixture of his exceptional skill with numbers, deep marinal knowledge and Asperger’s syndrome. When he meets Crystal (Trisha), a girl with bipolar disorder, each finds a way to cope with this world, with the people of lesser dysfunctional personalities. The film employed a language of micro semantic level- Jude’s floral printed shirts, his fight with his family with a clownfish hugsy in his lap, his camcorder’s focus on his reflection instead of him when he realises his ‘abnormality’ and his change of print shirts into striped ones when he meets Crystal and later into plain ones when he starts to live like a normal person- everything is set with utmost care.

The role of Aju Varghese as George Kurian, the hitch hiker who’d rather prefer thrown on the road or in the water than tolerating Jude’s incessant lecture on climate change was a clever inclusion to fill the voids of humour. George Kurian appears again in the post climax to spread another laughter in the faces of audience who almost thought the film ended without much excitement. As Jude starts to live normally, with his three new found friends- Dr. Sebastian (Vijay Menon), Crystal and Figo-Crystal’s dog, the film makes its point as its poster displayed outside the theatre said- ‘Be yourself. Love will find you’. And Dr. Sebastian’s words linger in our hearts- “Inability to love is the greatest defect”.

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