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Times of India
The film presents a conflict between a writer and his characters through the life of a youth named Preman
Sometimes eccentricity works just like
Netholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla
. Watching the film is like stumbling upon a weird person and slowly coming to terms with his queerness. He might not be charming enough to be held close as he might even be annoying at times. But, there is a certain degree of undeniable likability about that fellow which would make him special, if not dear.
Working on a ridiculously wonderful script by Shankar Ramakrishnan, V K Prakash dishes out a film that balances swift, crisp humour and some bearable bouts of boredom. Preman, brilliantly played by Fahad, is the care-taker of an apartment. He is also working on a story in his small room. People call him 'netholi'. Shankar etches Preman with deft strokes that easily depict his disposition for films and writing.
Inside an old, packed theatre, a heavily pregnant woman in a haze of beedi smoke sits absorbed in 'Manjilvirinja Pookal'. She is in pain, which worsens and she is taken to hospital where Preman is delivered. Preman would grow up into a youth and explain that he was actually clapping for Mohanlal inside his mother's womb.
His room in the apartment complex is a perfect replica of his mind; dull, lifeless, inferior and again a bit odd with an abandoned closet conveniently serving the purpose of a chair. He offers his services to the inhabitants whom he refers to as creatures that include the grouchy Prabha, the buxom Laxmi, a freaky couple, a detached maid and so on. People snub him, swear at him and make him suffer. His requital happens inside his room on a yellow-coloured book where he sets in motion a group of characters who would act in tune with his whims.
Occasionally it might even seem silly, but the way Shankar cleverly manoeuvres the musings of a youth into something substantial explains why this film stands firmly rooted. It brushes aside the need for coherent expressions of human lives. The film rather puts it simply.
A man is crushed, but is too weak to avenge. He falls back on his fancies which build up his revenge and he finds pleasure in a harmless, barely-menacing manner. Shankar also throws probing queries on the authority of a writer and the identity of characters.
The film appears charming in a special way even with its share of taste-less, lingering frames. There are times when the script slackens when Narendran, the alter-ego of Preman works up a firm, inflexible Prabha. But even these scenes finally add up to what takes this movie quite a few notches above the banal.