Regional CinemaOTT

Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam Review: Doesn’t  Feel Gimmicky, Although It Is

Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam(Malayalam, NeeStream)

Director
Plot
Maria, a young journalist, and Jithin, an aspiring actor, are in a live-in relationship without the knowledge of their parents. Set in the backdrop of the covid pandemic, this relationship drama reveals the nuances of an intense dispute and unreasoned maneuvers that the couple adapt in the intimate relationship.

Rating: ** ½

Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam Review: One shot, 85 minutes, a squabbling couple driving down to a pregnancy clinic to  ascertain whether she  is  in the family way.

In Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam, The  family certainly doesn’t get  in the way of this couple as they battle it out hurling  accusations and insults  at each other  during  a road journey that threatens  to tear  down their  relationship,   until  you fear he  will crash the car while she screams at him for no reason. ‘He’ being Jithin played by  Jithin Puthenchery, she being  Maria played by Rima  Kallingal.

[tnm_video layout=”mnmd-post-media-wide”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHnjGP9CQW8[/tnm_video]

As far as  I can see, in Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam,  this  couple is  heading for a  ferocious breakup. Or at  least that’s  how  their  scuffle seems scripted,  although  it may not really be  so. I hear the actors  improvised a  lot of lines and  considering they  drive together(while driving one another nuts)  for  85 minutes there must have been a  lot  of  impromptu  insults hurled at  one  another.

Conceiving new ways of insulting one another on journey that seems  to go on forever couldn’t be  easy. Why did the pick a clinic  on  the  other end  of town? Did they actually want  this time together  to  bicker bitterly?  Do they actually  get it  of on mutual insults? Looks  like it.

He calls her a litter bug. She says  he stinks as he doesn’t bathe for three days  at  a stretch.

Ouch!  As I watched this new avatar  of  Richard Burton-Liz Taylor  in Who’s Afraid  Of  Virginia Wolf(imagine if the  pair  were asked to bicker for  85 minutes in  one shot while the  director went off to attend  to more important chores) or nearer  home, Rajesh KhannaSharmila Tagore  in Aavishkar, I  wondered why these  two  are  together at  all.

She is  a certifiable  bully  and  borderline abuser. He is docile and has obviously allowed her  to get away  with her screaming bouts  way too  often without reminding her that raising your voice doesn’t make you right. I don’t know  much writer-director Don Palathara allowed  the  pair to  have their own say.

But  the improvisations  in  their dialogues are not concealed  from the camera. The verbal  duel in Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam  at times seems to be straining to stay  afloat.  At other times the insults  just fly  in the car , free-floating in space  between roof and seat  like  stale confetti at a party long  gone phut.

Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam revels  in its own innovativeness. The lead pair holds fort to  the  best of its abilities. Somewhere  in the  long tedious  journey the verbiage begins to get to you. That’s when the  director himself makes  an appearance, not in person but as a voice of a  director being  interviewed on the phone by  Maria.

Yes ,she is an  entertainment  journalist. Which explains her aggression, though not her insistence  on abusing her  boyfriend for  getting her  pregnant.

Pregnant pauses are  not what we get here, though. The casually stylish  Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam is daunting in its  format  and verbiage . Miraculously it  doesn’t seem  gimmicky,  although it probably is, because  of  the actors who have  gotten into the  85-minute  spat so well-rehearsed that it doesn’t seem rehearsed at all.

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