Loosely based on the rescue of 41 nurses who were held by isis terrorists in Iraq, thanks to the kickass union minister Sushma Swaraj and Iraqi ambassador, Take off is undoubtedly the best film of 2017 by far. Just when I was talking about the lack of female-centric films in Malayalam cinema, Mahesh Narayanan and team delivered this gem backed by a stellar cast led by talented actress Parvathy.
Sameera (Parvathy) leads an exasperating life filled with debts and male chauvinism, from her husband (Asif Ali) who taunted her choice to do work over family and the community who is against the idea of her going out of the country without a male guardian. Shahid (Kuchacko Boban) loves her and they get married so that Sameera will have a smoother way to Iraq. After reaching Iraq, the crisis begins and the nurses are left stranded with no options and Indian Ambassador (Fahadh Fazil) steps in.
The movie does take its time to establish the terror attack that separates Sameera and Shahid in two locations. The events leading until that is Sameera’s everyday life and the dilemma she faces when she had to tell her son about her divorce and remarriage. I thought to myself, was all that dragging necessary as people will look forward to the hostage crisis and the take-off. The important facet is how Sameera was able to help her fellow workers overcome and cooperate with the Indian embassy.
The movie highlights three key aspects;
- Nurses do not receive the respect they deserve in India and has a negligible salary. This answer comes as a slap across the face of the Ambassador who taunts her, asking why she came to Iraq in spite of knowing about the civil war.
- The fact that all that she’s been through in the past played a role in giving Sameera boldness and courage to look at the terrorists in the eye. The first half of the film highlighted all that.
- Muslims are the worst victims of terrorism. Although, isis spares the nurses because of the Islamic appearance, their stained the lives of Muslims around the world.
The direction and the technical aspects of the film excelled. This film is the part of new generation revolution that is making Malayalam cinema a thrill ride indeed. The sound effects, resolution, cinematography, editing and the script are well structured. However, some of the dialogues are problematic, like the reason why Shahid chose to go to Mosul. He says that he wants to give Sameera and her son time, thus he is going away. It would have been better if he is shown as a dedicated nurse who chose to serve Iraq as a nation. Gopi Sundar’s music works but it would have been better if he turned down a notch as most of the scenes looked noisy.
Parvathy is fantastic in her role. I knew that she is a capable actress since I saw “notebook”. She delivered effective performances in “vinodayathra”, “Bangalore days”, “ennu ninte moideen” and “Charlie”. She will surely sweep all the awards this year. She nailed in terms of an overworking woman, a mother looking forward to seeing her son, and her presence of mind, which saved her and the nurses from the isis terrorists. Sameera is vigilant and under the instructions of Manoj, she groups her fellow co-workers and teaches how to pray namaz and to be vigilant. Women sticks up for each other; when one of them tries to shield a friend who was stalked by a pervert, another nurse covers the “christ” necklace when the isis army were unloading their belongings and the ultimate scene from the movie where Sameera’s son says the rest of the “Bismillah” chant when they were interrogated by the isis chief. Parvathy spoke Arabic quite effectively and it is visible that she researched a lot to do the film. Kunchacko Boban is controlled and his performance during the crisis are effective but he looked subdued next to Parvathy. Shahid is the noble character and he opens the eye of an isis terrorist who happens to be a Malayali. He was brainwashed into joining the isis and Shahid tells him what true Islam teaches. Fahadh Fazil is another person who added his galleons with his charisma and sharp minded intelligence. The second half is effective owing to his presence and Parvathy’s passion. Asif Ali is controlled and has less to do in the film. The nurses look expressive and their panic reactions were top rate. The scene where the nurses sigh a breath of relief after seeing the Indian flag will instill a sense of patriotism everyone’s minds. I wish they showed more in the film about what happens in Sameera’s life after she goes back home and the lives of other nurses as well.
Take off is a must watch film if you are a fan of Malayalam cinema.