Director: Don Palathara.
Writer: Don Palathara, Rima Kallingal, Jitin Puthanchery.
Cast: Rima Kallingal, Jitin Puthanchery, Neeraja Rajendran
Genre: Drama | Comedy
Streaming on Cave OTT and Neestream.
“We didn’t have any such concerns while writing. It was all about being as honest as possible with it. If we had been concerned, it would look forced — as though we are using these characters to teach society something.”
“In an intimate space, people don’t always say things that are politically correct or acceptable to society. They may have some mutually agreeable flaws between them. “
-Don Palathara (Interview on The New Indian Express)
When the whole world halted due to the covid pandemic, the conversations begin inside a car captured by a camera fixed on the dashboard. 85 minute long santhoshathinte onnam rahasyam is a single-frame single shot movie that breathes into life by improvisations of the actors.
The camera focuses on a living together couple Jithin (Jitin Puthencherry) and Maria (Rima Kallingal) heading to a clinic to confirm her suspected pregnancy. Maria is a journalist planning for higher studies, obviously not ready to welcome a baby. Jithin is a struggling small-time actor with no steady income. As both their parents are unaware of the relationship, Maria is anxious and demands a solution if the result turns positive. She reflects the past and blames Jithin for what they’re in. No matter what he says to keep her nerves down, she finds faults with him and gets much more annoyed for his calm posture about a situation that is probably a life-changing moment for her.
This is a dialogue-oriented movie that parleys with three characters and two phone calls that are creatively executed to full potential. Also in some portions, there is an assemblage of their minds that does not always require words to transmit thoughts, which advances the movie even more beautifully.
Apart from Don’s former works, Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam is so different that one may not even recognize they are created by the same director. Rima and Jithin also collaborated with the script that makes the conversations pure and extremely witty.
The views and noises experienced inside a car are elegantly captured in the backlight of Covid, establishing the natural mood which the movie demands. In content and presentation, Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam is a thoughtful, hilarious, and genuine piece of work.
Verdict: 5/7 Stars.
The film premiered at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) in Thiruvananthapuram on 21 February 2021.
This is a first of its kind experimental movie in Malayalam film industry as the entire movie is of a 85 minute single shot.
The film is one of the selections for the main competition at the 2021 Moscow International Film Festival.