The Engagement is on Monday…

The Engagement is on Monday!

Based on a recommendation from a cousin, Mr. A, we watched Thinkalazhcha Nischayam (direct translation – Monday Engagement) – to be called TN hereon. Directed by Senna Hegde, the movie won the Best Story and Second best Film at this year’s Kerala State Awards and it rightly deserved the awards. With a catchy tagline of Made in Kanhangad, the movie tells the story of Vijayan, his wife Lalitha, daughters Surabhi & Suja, and son Sujith.

This instantly reminded me of the dialogue from the Malayalam movie 1983, where the heroine says, “jyangal ellaam Su aanallo, jyan su..sheela, ente chetan Sugunan, aniyante peyr ichiri fashion peyra..Sumesh!! (We are all Su, I am Susheela, my older brother is Sugunan, younger brother’s name is slightly fashionable, Sumesh!).

TN revolves around Suja’s engagement, which is happening on a Monday. In the director’s words, “The family gets together for the function, and you experience the loves, squabbles, jealousies and chaos and confusion of a dysfunctional family.” Vijayan, the father, has worked in Kuwait, has had exposure to the world outside Kanhangad, and calls Kuwait progressive, but is still the type of father who expects to have the final word in all the decisions made in the family, including those involving his adult children. He is hell-bent on getting Suja married to an NRI, mainly to overcome the fact that his older daughter went against his wishes and married a man of her choice.

Suja is in love with a local boy, whom the family knows, but hesitates to tell her parents, mainly fearing her father’s wrath. The boy is also afraid to come forward and ask for her hand and as the two cower in the shadows, the elders find a ‘suitable’ NRI boy for Suja. He is narrow-minded, has a set outlook about women, and comes to the pennu kaanal (girl-viewing) with a list of weird questions for the girl. Suja is irked by his nonsensical questions, but answers them brilliantly, leaving him flabbergasted. The elders like the boy and decide to get the couple engaged, without considering the girl’s opinion. The boy and girl meet on a Saturday and the engagement is fixed for the following Monday, because the boy has to return to the Gulf on Wednesday. Hence, the name of the movie, Thinkalazhcha Nischayam.

The family starts preparing for the engagement with the usual setting up of the shamiana, hiring a cook to prepare the feast, prepping the house for guests etc. etc. Family members begin to trickle in, with the usual congregation of the gossip-mongering aunt, a cheapskate uncle, an annoying cousin, and more. Amidst this hullabaloo, Suja and her boyfriend elope on Sunday night. As soon as the family realizes that Suja is missing, all hell breaks loose. The father, who was banking his reputation on this engagement goes crazy with rage, screams, shouts, and finally resorts to taking a vote to see how many in his family are with him. Being the so-called head of the household, he expects his wife, kids, and siblings to go his way, but his daughter votes the other way. As an anti-climax to the voting, Suja and her boyfriend come back and a newcomer makes an entry, giving the story a fun twist — Manisha, the youngest son’s girlfriend from college.

In the end, Vijayan, the wannabe patriarch is forced to accept the newcomers into his family and grudgingly realizes that his way is not the only way in the house and that he just has to go with the flow, to maintain peace.

On the whole, TN showcases the story of every house, with crazy characters, societal pressures, headstrong fathers, and an overtly concerned neighborhood. One refreshing factor is the portrayal of the women; unlike the typical submissive women, the women, especially the daughters, have a voice and the guts to let it be heard.

Thank you for the recommendation, Mr. A. The movie is definitely worth a watch; gather together with your family and watch Thinkalazhcha Nischayam on SonyLiv or other platforms where it is available.

Until I write again, watch good movies, enjoy quality time with your loved ones, and stay happy and healthy.

P.S. — It is recommended to watch with captions because the Kanhangad slang is slightly difficult to follow.

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