With the arrival of new technological gadgets, new features in mobile phones and thanks to their affordable rate along with the (over)use of social media platform, youth population is struck with the “Selfie fever”. Oru Vadakkan Selfie (A northern Selfie) is a comedy film based on this theme. After successful endeavors in singing, acting and directing, Vineeth Sreenivasan wrote a satirical screenplay that also suffered from an abnormal set of plot holes and shift in genre. Oru Vadakkan Selfie is a step for a Nivin Pauly to reach super stardom since his subsequent release “Premam” made history with it’s cult following.
This movie is about a boy, who’s life changes because of a Selfie. Umesh (Nivin Pauly) is a carefree college student who gets supple after supple “supplementary exam”, and he is less bothered about his future as an engineering student. He represents a typical students who is oblivious about his studies, yet we see him go through the results desperately, hoping. Being a movie geek and a huge admirer of the south Indian filmmaker Gautham Vasudev Menon and after getting 42 supplementary papers back to back, Umesh decides to follow his heart and do what he wants. He want to become a successful filmmaker and start his career by assisting Gautham Menon. At least, that’s what he tries. His unheeding attitude and lack of seriousness leads to him trouble & sticky situations. Like his lame venture to rebel against Harthaal “Kerala strike” and an attempt making a short film with girl-next door Daisy (Manjima Mohan) as his inspiration. But, he will never reform as mentioned in this super hit song.
He finally sets out to Chennai and sees Daisy in the train compartment with him. While she’s sleep, he takes a selfie with her in the background. He doesn’t think twice before sending it to his friend Shaji (Aju Varghese), who goes on to upload it in FaceBook. This puts Umesh in turmoil as people are under the impression that he eloped with Daisy, who went missing. Vowing to redeem his reputation (and his family’s), he and Shaji tries to track her down with the help of a private detective named Jack Tracker (Vineeth Sreenivasan).
This movie is a satirical depiction on how the youth population uses every opportunity they get to be a hero in social media. How the boys put each and every moment in FaceBook; For eg: Umesh and his friends partying after wrapping up the short film. Shaji takes a selfie of himself thinking while they were trying to find Daisy. The movie suffers from a quick shift of plot structure and genre by the second half of the film. Initially it was about Umesh’s playboy and flirting life style with no seriousness. Then it was about cheating and betrayal via social media where Daisy is a victim. Malayalam films, in general, will never say no to VAW issues; victim blaming or over protection of women is shown realistically even if the comedy or action is exaggerated. This movie also encouraged that culture with Daisy refusing to press charges (Not giving anything more away). While trying to execute a flavor that’s different, Vineeth Sreenivisan neither established Umesh’s new found machismo and nor did he fill up the plot holes that drives an average audience member to think. Like, was Umesh able to put things in order with his family and society? His father faced severe criticism after all. What did he do with his supple exams? What happened to his dreams of becoming a successful filmmaker and his ambition to assist Gautham Menon? Why didn’t Jack tell them the truth about his profession? He does give an excuse but it was less importance for someone in his position as it gives him the authority.
Nivin Pauly delivered a decent performance but he became dim towards the second half of the film. Aju Varghese did not change his “thattathin marayathu” image and acting style. It was nice to see Manjima since her over-stressed child acting days, she is elegant and performed as per her character’s conflicts. Vineeth Sreenivasan is natural in an unnatural character. It has many valuable messages about family ties and proper communication which could have been better with proper polishing of the script and character development. However, at the end of the day, the movie’s an entertaining satire.
Featured image: filmibeats