‘Sesham Mike-il Fathima’ movie review: Kalyani Priyadarshan shines in this feel-good entertainer
Debutant Manu C Kumar’s Sesham Mike-il Fathima, headlined by Kalyani Priyadarshan, is refreshing on many accounts. It is a women-centric movie and tells the story of a Muslim girl who wants to become a football commentator.
Kalyani plays the chirpy, effervescent Fathima Noorjahan, who never shies away from speaking her mind. ‘Chilambachi’ is the nickname of this chatterbox, brought up in a conservative, middle-class family, comprising her strict father, supportive mother, doting brother, and progressive grandmother. A football fan from childhood, she was a permanent fixture at football games, doubling up often as a commentator. That’s when she gets a chance to become the commentator for a local football tournament. She becomes the talk of the town. Eventually, she starts dreaming about becoming a football commentator. She even charts out a plan. But there are too many hurdles before her — opposition from her family, society, and the male-dominated governing bodies of football, etc. Her journey towards that goal is the story of Sesham Mike-il Fathima, written by the director himself.
Fathima’s character has been designed in such a way that from the beginning the audience knows that she will realise her dream. The viewer only has to wait to understand how she achieves her goal. The director has succeeded to some extent in making that journey interesting and endearing. There are several scenes that touch upon patriarchy and misogyny, as Fathima chases her goal. The high-voltage, high-energy football commentary dialogues add to the fun. There is no romantic track in the story, which is a welcome change. Instead, friendships are celebrated, albeit in an underwhelming manner.
Sesham Mike-il Fathima (Malayalam)
Director: Manu C Kumar
Cast: Kalyani Priyadarshan, Sudheesh, Aneesh Menon, Femina Jacob, Sabumon, Shaheen Siddique
Run-time: 140 minutes
Storyline: Fathima, a Muslim girl, chases her dream of becoming a football commentator against societal odds
Some fairytale-like sequences water down the narrative and fail to bring home the gravity of Fathima’s struggle to become a commentator. The audience fails to connect with Fathima’s situation and therein lies the problem in the narrative.
Nevertheless, the movie has a saving grace in Kalyani, who has put up an earnest performance with her screen presence. She has evolved a lot since her roles in Thallumalaand Bro Daddy. There is an ease with which she plays Fathima and she has managed to come out of her comfort zone by dubbing for a character mouthing lengthy Malayalam dialogues, especially in the North Malabar dialect. Of course, she does seem weighed down by the heavy dialogues in some scenes, thus restricting her as an actor.
Sudheesh is spot on as Fathima’s father, Muneer, a former football player who runs an automobile workshop. Even when he loves her, he is worried about what the world would say about his daughter who chooses to do something different and that dilemma is effectively portrayed by Sudheesh. There are some poignant father-daughter moments as well, supported by heartwarming dialogues. Femina Jacob, Sabumon and Shaheen Siddique do well in their small roles.
Hesham Abdul Wahab’s songs are catchy, the pick of the lot being the peppy number sung by composer Anirudh Ravichander, his first in Malayalam.
It is true that so many factors would have made Sesham Mike-il Fathima a better film. However, there is no doubt that you will walk out of the theatre with a smile on your face.
Sesham Mike-il Fathima is playing in theatres
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