Hridayam movie review: Overwhelming emotions in an underwhelming story line

Anyone who has watched Vineeth Sreenivasan’s work knows how good he is with extracting emotions from the most humdrum of situations, and amplifying it with beautiful frames and soothing background music. The scene in Thattathin Maryath, where Nivin Pauly’s character describes the beauty of his love Aisha is one such instance. It would be fair to say that Vineeth’s movies would be an empty shell if not for these musically enhanced feel-good moments.

With the exception of Thira — which was a change of tone and subject for the filmmaker — all the other movies directed by Vineeth are romanticised tales with a central character who has to overcome challenges and grow as a person. Whether it is Thattathin Marayath, Jacobinte Swargarajyam, Malarvadi Arts Club or even Oru Vadakkan Selfie, which was an occasional miss by him, it had the protagonist overcoming barriers that life has placed in their path.

With Hridayam, however, Vineeth seems to have done away with the plot, choosing to follow a young man from his college days to the time he becomes a father. The movie shows Arun Neelakandan, played by Pranav Mohanlal, going through this progression without facing any major challenges, other than a break-up. In fact, if you have watched the songs and trailers of the movie, you can predict its story.

The movie starts with Arun boarding a train to Chennai to join an engineering college. The first half of the movie shows college and hostel life, with the ragging from seniors, love at first sight, and heartbreak. The second half is even more ‘normal’ where Arun finds a job he is passionate about, finds another lover, gets married and has kids. Don’t ask ‘where is the cinematic scope in this storyline?’, because in Vineeth Sreenivasan’s cinematic world, nothing is ordinary. Even eating porotta and curry can be an emotionally orgasmic moment. Darshana Rajendran played the role of Darshana who is the love interest of Arun during his college life while Kalyani Priyadarshan essays Nithya who enters his life in the movie’s second half. The movie is filled with clichéd romantic scenes, campus life and elite weddings, with the only respite being the introduction of new characters who help Arun rediscover himself. The movie’s journey also felt similar to the storyline of 2019 movie June, in which Rajisha Vijayan played the lead role.

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Arun is soft spoken, carefree and shy, something that falls in the comfort zone of Pranav, and he does it effortlessly. Same can be said about Kalayani Priyadarshan who again plays a cute and bubbly character similar to her role in Varane Avashyamund. However, Darshana Rajendran steals the show with her performance. She’s fantastic in scenes which required control over emotions. Vijayaraghavan also delivers a memorable if brief performance.

Songs composed by music director Hisham Abdul Wahab are already trending on social media and blend well in the movie also.  Vishwajith Odukkathil’s cinematography also makes the movie engaging.

Another major drawback of the movie is the 172 minute running time. The length of the movie does not justify an empty plot. However, the movie has all the ingredients to attract youngsters and college goers, and offers a load of nostalgia for millennials.

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