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Times of India
: The film follows a set of village youths who are deeply obsessed with cricket and how their lives shape up in future.
glows with a charming exuberance mostly because of its central theme of cricket and partly due to its collection of sparkling memories. It's all about a youth Rameshan (Nivin Pauly) hopelessly smitten by cricket.
Abrid plays out a smart narrative pattern connecting one scene with another by virtue of a word or sometimes a simple shred of a dialogue. Thus the film captures the boy (Rameshan) pouching a cricket ball on the move, hurtling himself on dew-tipped grass and glancing at the dew drops on grass tops; a splendidly conceived shot which stands out for its sheer beauty.
In between, the film threads along gently reproducing the glorious vestiges of Indian cricket, a group of lads absorbing the frisson of World Cup win of
from the grainy images of old Doordarshan.
is a sweet, bottled nostalgia spreading out the rustic visuals of lads carving bats out of coconut palms and turning dusty, sparsely green patches in their village into vibrant cricket grounds. The boys nonchalantly bearing the mild chidings of their parents and youths flinging earthy quips at each other in the middle of a cricket game. Above all they share the joy of victory with teary eyes and toothy smiles.
Abrid makes a scintillating debut making sure that his narrative doesn't drown in memories. He pushes it along with intent and purpose, making his characters taste bitter losses in life and letting them indulge in their own share of regrets.
He is not over-ambitious either strictly confining his plot with a matured sense of measure. The romance that is stitched into the tale glides along, often tickling and sometimes throbbing. The plot is shaped on a youth who idolizes Sachin, a reason genuine enough for the TV clips featuring Sachin consuming the screen space.
The film stays rooted and doesn't morph into an eye-popping starry ride that usually marks sports-centred narratives. Nivin Pauly lends a gentle, subdued beauty to Rameshan switching from his cricket-obsessed youth into a father who is keen to sense the instincts of his kid. The sporting moments are filmed with verve, warding off jarring special effects and sticking to what is essential.
The slack that seeps in at times is pardonable for the earnestness of this film.
demands attention because of its unassuming simplicity and a rare cheerful sense it brings into each of its sequence.