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Review Malayalam

Halal Love Story review: A badly executed social satire with good intentions

Release Date: 15 Oct 2020


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Haricharan Pudipeddi

Despite touching upon a number of issues, the film struggles to make its point effectively.

Halal Love Story, directed by Zakariya Mohammed, is one of those films you appreciate for its intent but not so much for its overall execution. A social satire the touches upon a number of issues, the film struggles to make its point effectively. However, Halal Love Story has a voice of its own and Mohammed makes for an exciting talent to root for.

The story is centred on Thoufeek (Sharaf U Dheen), an unmarried man from an orthodox family. An active member of a popular Islamic organisation in Kerala, Thoufeek is also an aspiring filmmaker. When Raheem and Shereef (Indrajith) want a telefilm to be made on their organisation, they approach Thoufeek with the offer and he, in turn, puts together a cast comprising his village folk. Siraj (Joju George) is roped in to direct the film. However, with differing ideas prevailing, can the film be made without everyone compromising on their beliefs? This forms the crux of the movie.

Halal Love Story is a breezy slice-of-life drama but it’s also a satire on storytelling. Shereef is passionate about acting, but at the same time wants to do right by his own beliefs. How do you deal with art when what you’re supposed to create is not in tandem with what you believe? Do you roll up your sleeves and set about your task or you give up on the idea altogether?

As much as you appreciate the film’s message, that art is for everyone and it shouldn’t be bound by the beliefs of some individuals or a group, it fails to leave you satisfied. The comedy is chaotic in places but the excruciatingly slow narrative is a big downer.

Halal Love Story reminds one of the Tamil film Jigarthanda (2014), which was also about a film being made within a film. In Jigarthanda, a filmmaker is forced to make the kind of film that’s accepted in the trade. Similarly, in Halal Love Story, a group of people set out to make a film but the purpose is lost in the process while trying to stick to certain beliefs. The film works slightly better as a comedy than a drama, with its message somewhat failing to land.

Halal Love Story is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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