The film narrates how the life of a young man changes after he witnesses a gang war
Often innocence leaves a debilitating effect on films especially if the narrative has a massive swath of innocence about it. Beyond a point, the film breaks under the enormous weight of virtue nursed by its characters. This is exactly where Rajeev Ravi etches his touch of brilliance in Njan Steve Lopez. The film is not just about an innocent young college student; there is a constant probe for similar shades in the multitude of characters that play around him. Even the nature of innocence is slightly tricky, even kiddish.
The overpowering, venerable kind of innocence is abandoned for eternity. Lopez, the college student and son of a police officer is innocent in his own way. His innocence is expressed as his 'indulgence' in the bathroom while ogling at a woman, the charming wife of his neighbour. Later he would meet her outside and smile at her 'innocently'. There is a girl who raises his pulse to breaking point; but whenever he would meet her he would not open up, but would just smile innocently.
Also, there is a great deal of realism that moulds such expressions of innocence. Although it ventures into the quite familiar realm of common man caught in uncommon, intimidating sudden circumstances, the sheer solidity of script holds everything together. The slang is not overused, rather it has an air of belonging, something that comes straight out of a household in Thiruvananthapuram. Rajeev Ravi, ably assisted by Geethu Mohandas and Santosh Echikanam in his script, adeptly deploys his set of actors to put together a tale that jolts, surprises and stirs the deepest chords.
The youth in this film doesn't wage a glorious war against the goons. He rather lets himself be taken along with them. There is no profound war for justice involved, but a simple, plain expression of a young man's quest for honesty. Sketches of violence come out in sharp, sudden strokes, stunningly portrayed in the tungsten tonality. The effect is as disturbing for the main character as it is for the viewers.
Farhaan - who plays Lopez - shows off his special genes for an actor, a potential that could be tapped immensely in future. His wonderfully expressive eyes, short, quick strides, thick web of knotty hair amply add to the naivete that fashions Lopez.
Njan Steve Lopez
is a film that will not disappoint even those who look for vigour and colour. It has warmth that glows every now and then and it is hard to resist.