Mera Naam Shaji (2019) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


Even with your basic senses locked up in a freezer, ‘Mera Naam Shaji’ is a laborious watch, because it repeatedly questions reason in all possible ways it can. The best you can do then, is to just let things be, and wait for the tangle to unknot, and it takes a bit more than a couple of hours for that to happen.


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In a world that is crammed with Shajis, none of it seems like an overdose, or overindulgence for that matter. Nadirshah’s third film ‘Mera Naam Shaji’  is one that gives its actors little to work with, and one with a plot that gets way too imaginative that conveniently forgets that an absolute lack of logic or sense could be an absolute deterrent while watching a film.

Shaji Usman (Biju Menon) is from Calicut, and makes a gala entry by emerging the saviour to a girl who is about to be molested by a scheming businessman, and winds up his introductory note by stabbing the man, err..in the butt. Turns out that Shaji has a special penchant for butt operations as is soon seen in yet another task that he accepts, which lands a local politician in Cochin (Ganesh Kumar) on his stomach, with a few stitches up-above-his-world-so-high.

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Down at the other end of the state in Trivandrum is a cab driver Shaji Sukumaran (Baiju) who amidst the frantic, nagging calls from his wife (Surabhi), drives a bunch of youngsters to Cochin. One of them in particular, Neenu (Nikhila Vimal) catches his attention, and doesn’t take him long to discover that she is a damsel in distress, pining to make a phone call to her erstwhile lover.

The lover, as luck and life would have it to be, is another Shaji (Asif Ali), this time with the surname George, who hails from Cochin. Apparently jobless, he woos Neenu and it all seems fine until her dad (Suresh Kumar) smells out their fragrant love tale. He marries his daughter off to a marine engineer, thereby drawing the curtains down on Shaji’s love life.

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Cochin is where the three Shajis will meet, and one of them, prods open his phone, pulls out his SIM card and tosses it down a bridge, before speeding away. The card floats down and drops magically into a drink that another Shaji and his friend are having beneath the bridge, and with almost everyone having the name Shaji, it’s time for a round or two of mistaken identities, and more.

Even with your basic senses locked up in a freezer, ‘Mera Naam Shaji’ is a laborious watch, because it repeatedly questions reason in all possible ways it can. The best you can do then, is to just let things be, and wait for the tangle to unknot, and it takes a bit more than a couple of hours for that to happen.

mera-naam-shaji-malayalam-movie-review-veeyen

There is no point in cross examining the ideologies or the attitudes that the film very casually flaunts, but what is unintentionally amusing is watching an actor as Ranjini Haridas, reputed for her strength of opinion off-screen, playing a character that receive a lesson on grooming from a blatantly chauvinistic Shaji Usman. But then, no questions should perhaps be asked.

Biju Menon holds his ground amidst this chaos, and Baiju deserves much more roles than he is offered these days. Barring these two, the rest of the cast, including dependable ones like Asif Ali and Nikhila Vimal roam around like hen in the moonlight, absolutely clueless as to what is going on or what is likely to transpire. There are also several other actors as Sreenivasan, Dharmajan, Ganesh Kumar, Sadiq, Surabhi, Mythili and Ranjini Haridas who are simply around.

There are neither enough chuckles nor enough thoughts that could have made ‘Mera Naam Shaji’ an engaging affair. Comically contrived and emotionally inert, this bunch of Shajis is quite a forgettable lot.


Verdict: Damp Cracker


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