Zakariya's debut venture Sudani from Nigeria, starring Soubin Shahir and Nigerian actor Samuel Abiola Robinson in lead roles, has an enlivening plot set in football crazy Malappuram. It is also Soubin's first as lead hero.
Malappuram in Kerala is one of the few places in India where football, and not cricket, is the ultimate sport. Sevens football, a version of the game which has been played in the Malabar region for many years, has found a place in Sudani from Nigeria.
Sevens football, approved neither by the Kerala Football Association nor FIFA, is immensely popular in the villages, where club rivalries overshadow political slug fests. Players from African countries are also roped in to play Sevens. They stay with the local residents and adapt to the local culture, customs and food.
The plot is set in the backdrop of sevens football. It revolves around Majeed (Soubin), the manager of a local Sevens football team and Samuel, the Nigerian player whom he hires.
Malappuram natives commonly refer to Africans as Sudanese for no particular reason. Hence, Samuel becomes Sudani from Nigeria.
Samuel, who gradually becomes the pivotal player in Majid's team, finds a fan base in a short span of time. But one day unexpectedly he gets injured. The developments that follow conjures up the movie. Majeed, who is stuck in the gospel truth of football, stumbles upon life's intricate lessons from then on.
There are ample moments in the script that provides scope for a riot of laughter like the scenes in which native residents get curious about Samuel and try to interact with him. Shunning barriers of culture and language, they make an effort to make him feel at home.
As usual, Soubin impresses with his exemplary timing that triggers a wave of comical situations. Samuel, who has a delightful smile, also leaves a mark. Theater actors Savithri Sreedharan and Sarasa Balussery excel in character roles.
Composer Rex Vijayan has struck a delightful chord with the songs, especially 'Cherukadhapole'. Shyju Khalid's cinematography is delightfully magical with a burst of spectacular shots and color tones. The 2-hour show is a delightful watch and viewers will have enough reasons to be awestruck as well as to laugh their hearts out.
Rating: 3.5 / 5