Partners review: An engaging investigation thriller from Naveen John

The makers could have sought technical expertise in the climax portion. This is where 'Partners' becomes more cinematic and unrealistic.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Jul 05, 2024

Naveen John's Partners is an investigative thriller

Partners (Malayalam)

05-07-2024, Thriller , 2 hours 1 minute U/A
  • Main Cast:Dhyan Sreenivasan, Sanju Shivaram, Rony David Raj, and Satna Titus
  • Director:Naveen John
  • Producer:Dinesh Kollappally
  • Music Director:Prasanth Alex
  • Cinematography:Faisal Ali



Dhyan Sreenivasan is an actor who never cared much about successes and failures and instead, loved doing what he likes. He was trolled after the OTT release of Varshangalkku Shesham, helmed by his actor-director-brother Vineeth Sreenivasan. However, the negativity didn’t stop him from taking up different roles or scripts.

And now, Dhyan has come up with yet another interesting project—Partners (Only in Crime). It marks the debut of Naveen John, who penned Ira (2018), as a director in Malayalam cinema.

The movie, an investigative drama, is not a murder mystery but about a financial fraud in a rural bank in 2005 involving four employees. It has been inspired by a true incident reported in the media a few years ago.

“Unlike Ira, which is more commercial, Partners has been given a realistic treatment. It has been written keeping in mind the current trends and tastes of audiences,” Naveen John told South First.

A poster of Naveen John's Partners

A poster of Naveen John’s ‘Partners’. (X)

And, as he said, the film keeps the audience engaged throughout by beautifully blending reality, fiction, and commercial elements.

Dhyan Sreenivasan, Sanju Sivaram, Dinesh Kollappally, Aneesh Gopal, and Devaki Rajendran work in a rural branch of a bank in Kasaragod. However, they eventually realise that it is a fake bank and its zonal manager (played by Rony David Raj) opened the branch for fraudulent money transactions. But then it’s too late and they are nabbed for financial fraud.

Parthasarathi (Kalabhavan Shahjohn), a senior Income Tax official, is vested with the responsibility to probe the fraud. He is a shrewd investigation officer with a good track record in solving cases.

However, the bank fraud case becomes a headache for him. At a point, he realises that his overconfidence played a spoilsport. As the story moves forward, it explores the struggles of the bank employees and reveals how they prove their innocence and how Parthasarathi solves the case.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Partners’ is a realistic investigative thriller, says debutant director Naveen John

An unconvincing climax

Partners is set against the backdrop of Kasaragod, notorious for having links with the Bombay Underworld in the 1990s, gold smuggling, and other illegal activities.

The script—penned by Harikrishnan, Prasanth KV, and Naveen John—takes us down memory lane by bringing alive those old memories and past events.

Prasanth Alex’s music and background score go well with the film. The title song sung by Jassie Gift sets the right tone for the story.

The first half of Partners sets the premise and mood by showcasing the life of common people in the village and how they find relief from the local moneylender after the opening of the bank.

The second half deals with the fraud and the investigation, with some nail-biting twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat, all thanks to the engaging script.

However, the makers could have sought technical expertise in the climax portion to make it more realistic. This is where Partners becomes more cinematic and unconvincing.


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Kalabhavan Shajohn shines

Partners has some reasonably good performances.

Kalabhavan Shajohn, as Parthasarathi, is the show-stealer. His nuanced acting works in favour of the movie.

The next best comes from Rony David Raj. He is apt for the role of the bank zonal manager.

However, protagonist Vishnu, portrayed by Dhyan Sreenivasan, demands more energy and vigour. Dhyan, for some reason, fails to give his best to the role as he did in Varshangalkku Shesham.

Aneesh Gopal as Raheem and Dinesh Kollappally as Chacko are decent.

Sanju Sivaram, who won appreciation for his performance in Mammootty’s Rorschach (2022), does justice to his role as a bank manager.

Prashant Alexander, as Devaraj, is good enough. Meanwhile, Devaki Rajendran is the only female actor who plays a significant role in the film.

Final take

With some good twists and turns, Partners makes for an engaging watch.

(Views expressed here are personal.)

(Edited by Y Krishna Jyothi)

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