An Open Letter To Nivin Pauly

An Open Letter To Nivin Pauly

Dear Nivin,

Let me begin by saying (as I have many times before on my blog, to friends and family, and to my husband, much to his annoyance) that I am a huge fan of yours. I think you are a versatile, immensely talented actor, and insanely handsome to boot. My admiration for you has only grown from 1983 to Bangalore Days to Premam.

I write this letter in the middle of the night, less than an hour after I got back from watching Action Hero Biju. In bringing SI Biju Paulose to life, I think you have done a terrific job, no surprises there. But despite some very fine acting, the interesting insights into police procedure, the many smiles and sniggers, and the glimpses into the lives of folks from different walks of life, I walked out of the movie theater feeling an overwhelming sense of dread.

Dread that what I saw today would be the beginning of the end. That we will get perhaps 2 or 3 more good movies from you, and then you will go the route that some of our other superstars have gone. My fear is compounded by the fact that AHB is your maiden production. Picture this: the first movie that you, who made your name in the industry through honest, down-to-earth portrayals of ordinary characters, ever produced has you as the titular hero, many action sequences, longish monologues on value-based living, a bimbo for a heroine, and a totally unnecessary romantic song forced into the script!

I agree, the name of the movie should have warned me, but despite starting out with a realistic portrayal and the claim at the end that Biju Paulose is no superhuman, that is exactly what he ended up as. Especially in that last action sequence: performing impossible stunts, sending the bad guys flying, delivering dramatic monologues on the greatness of the men in khakhi (no offence intended to our police force)… I mean, what was all that about?

One of the many welcome changes in contemporary Malayalam movies is the increased importance given to female characters. From Divya and Sarah in Bangalore Days, Pooja in OSO, Susheela in 1983 to Malar in Premam, female characters these days have character. Which is why the wide-eyed heroine in AHB who has nothing more to do than look coy and clingy is deeply disturbing. If the character of Benitta Dominic wasn’t important to the movie, why have her at all? Why not restrict her to a voice on the phone, for instance?

The reason I am nitpicking is that this is how it all started back in the 2000s. When Mohanlal did Aaram Thampuran and Narasimham, we liked them because while they were dramatic, they fell into the bucket of ‘wholesome’ entertainers. But when these were followed by a list of formula movies the next half-decade-Praja, Ustad, Thandavam, Chaturangam, Natturajavu, Alibhai-what Malayalam moviegoers everywhere lost was more than just time and money.

The thing is, Nivin, we have great expectations from you. You are the next superstar. Even without any of the associated trappings. Perhaps, because you’ve steered clear of these so far.

So, here’s hoping fervently that AHB is not going to be the first in a series of formula movies aimed at piggybacking on its success.

Yours most sincerely

A well wisher.



3 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Nivin Pauly

  1. I think the star system as we know it from the 1990s and 2000s is sort of dead now. I mean with the younger lot of actors such as Nivin Pauly, Dulquer, and Fahad. I think they definitely give more importance to the story, situation, and characters over any sort of star image or larger than life image. But then again, I might be wrong. Indian commercial cinema revolves around a set form of rules. Lol so you never know. It’s a business at the end of the day. And they have to make films that make a profit.

    Anyway, AHB was a good film. I enjoyed watching it. It gave a different perspective to police characters. The only problem, as you mentioned, is Biju turns into Superman at the climax portions Lol. The film stars off in a docu-drama fashion but ends up as a typical cop commercial film in the climax. So I guess that might be the future w our younger stars? Be realistic for the most part, but then get cinematic at certain intervals.

  2. Very well written,Gowri.I also second your thoughts.You should,probably,tweet this to Nivin before his big summer release,JacobinteSwargarajyam.

    1. Haha! If the movie has already been made, I doubt it will make a difference. Plus, I’m not on Twitter. You’re free to tweet it to him! 🙂

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