Film: Take off
Director: Mahesh Narayanan
Cast: Parvathy, Kunchacko Boban, Fahad Faazil
Even though the path for Take Off was already paved, the film cuts across to new turf confidently, along with amplifying the agony of the Malayali nurses taken over by the ISIS. The film is set on a perfect pitch where conflict gets narrated to excellent effect, where matters of the heart don’t get marred by the din of the gunshots, but end up finding new voices.
Take Off revs up right from scene one, and doesn’t digress at all. Sameera (Parvathy) is trying to get her visa sanctioned to work in Iraq as a nurse. A Muslim woman, who is also a divorcee, it’s rare for women from the community to be crossing borders and working outside the country. While her eight-year-old boy is still with her ex-husband (Asif Ali), she is mired by problems; of work, home, debts and love.
While the story explores many problems at one go, each has been given its due, with nuanced attention to detail. Sameera starts to find the shoulders of Shahid (Kunchacko Boban) just right to lean on, and they decide to embark on the Iraq journey together. And while these are the additions made by director Mahesh Narayanan to the focal theme, they sparkle in their genuinity, not taking away the larger concern from the frames.
The civil war raging in Iraq is positioned in the backdrop that sends chills down the spine; the heavy bombing, splintered souls who are stranded in a hospital waiting for their home country’s foremost authorities to rescue them. A pacy screenplay that elbows out anything trite or dramatic, engages with a string of heartfelt scenarios and brilliant characterizations. The lives of the ‘angels of mercy’ and the merciless hospital industry that pays them peanuts come out in vivid expressions.
The crux of the story being a real incident, the job of the director was to articulate what was only imagined, and Mahesh Narayanan has treated the subject with much insight. Viewing the real story through the eyes of Sameera and infusing her story into it makes the liberty taken well utilized. Parvathy, the main protagonist of the film, is the echo of many unheard voices, and she sparkles throughout, be it putting up the facade of an angry young mother or the face of a relentless wife who pursues her missing husband. There’s an almost ‘Roja’-like charm to her perseverance. Kunchacko Boban is probably the best bet to play the devoted and stable husband, and he pulls it off like a charm. He astonishes with the maturity that he brings to the character, and in one clean swipe, takes over those scenes where he stands by her steadfastly.
Fahadh Faasil, who plays the role of the Indian ambassador in Iraq who is bent on rescuing the nurses, puts up a chic performance bringing in a commanding persona and sharpness, the prerequisites of an officer of his position. A perfect cast, all nurses and others included, cinematography that keeps it especially real, and a haunting BGM, Take Off flies high and over the rainbow.