Having a template helps, when you want to churn out a quick movie or a book. Having more than one template makes it even better, providing you all the permutations and combinations for fusing them together, which would make your work look not even remotely similar to the previous ones.
In Sathyan Anthikad’s Njan Prakashan, the template is that of the educated but irresponsible, good-for-nothing son of the household, who is looking for an easy way to success. We have seen various shades of this person in Anthikad’s previous film Jomonte Suvisheshangal and even in Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal. Or, for that matter, in Oru Indian Prayakatha.
Here, screenwriter Sreenivasan, who is teaming up with Anthikad after a gap of 16 years, has injected some more crookedness into Prakashan (Fahadh Fazil), who refers to himself as P.R. Akash.
He is a bit heartless, and remorseless, unlike the other characters in the template. He is someone who dumped his girlfriend Salomi (Nikhila Vimal) when he realised that she is not from a rich family, but went back to woo her when he found her to be his ticket to Germany. That too, with a plan to marry and dump her, once he gets a foothold in that country.
Other than the slight stretching on the evilness scale of the protagonist, the rest of the movie faithfully sticks to the Anthikad-Sreenivasan playbook, which is often a self-help book. Self-improvement is the only solution in their proudly apolitical landscape. The only update from their earlier days seems to be the presence of migrant workers, with Gopalji (Sreenivasan) playing the role of an agent supplying migrant labourers.
Like in Oru Indian Pranayakatha, the second half is barely connected to the first half, in which a key character disappears in a contrived manner. The writing is especially lazy in these parts. For that rare scene in which the humour works, there are five others where it falls flat, like the ones involving Salomi.
Fahadh’s natural acting works in some scenes while it looks a bit repetitive in others, where he appears to be taking that extra effort to be natural.
The inevitable shift in his character — for the protagonist has to turn good-hearted at some point in an Anthikad movie — also happens rather quickly. To help him along, providing valuable life lessons are Gopalji and Sruthi (Anju Kurian).
While Njan Prakashan might satisfy those who yearn for more of the same from the 90s’ Sathyan-Sreeni world, it would be a disappointment for those looking for novelty.