Back in the 1980s and ’90s, Balachandra Menon was one of the prolific directors in Malayalam cinema.

Most of his films used to do well at the box office; he would tell interesting tales about commoners, laced with a tinge of humour.

His latest film,
Ennalum Sharath
, though, belongs to an entirely different genre: a mystery, or to be more precise, a whodunnit.

Elizabeth, a popular college girl who tries to emulate Mother Teresa, dies in mysterious circumstances and students go on strike demanding a proper police investigation.

A Scotland Yard-trained officer takes up the investigation, but is soon replaced by a female cop. Now, the thing about murder mysteries is that the culprit would almost certainly be the one whom you least suspect. Agatha Christie was brilliant at this as a novelist and there have been some fine whodunnit films in Malayalam as well, like
Oru CBI Dairy Kurippu

Ennalum Sharath
, too, the identity of the murderer could come as a surprise to most (unless you have read too much detective fiction or watched too many mystery movies).

The audience, of course, are introduced to several suspects, including a young man with whom Elizabeth was said to have been close to while in college, and an elderly musician who forms a band that she is part of.

But, the film does not come across as a pure, tightly written thriller.

There are far too many distractions, like television debates on the police investigation. There is even a sequence where a top police officer comes live on such a debate and disputes the arguments of one of the participants. And that is not the only unconvincing scene, or thing, you would notice in
Ennalum Sharath.

The performance of Nitya Naresh, as the best friend of Elizabeth, is convincing. Nidhi Arun too does well as Elizabeth.

P.K. Ajith Kumar

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