A bit of a background: I had often heard about some great content being delivered in Malayalam Cinema. To be honest, I was intrigued ever since Dulquer Salman entered the Hindi film industry with Karwaan (which I saw for Irrfan primarily but loved Dulquer in it), and I happened to see some of the trailers of his earlier film. As a sidenote, Karwaan is a personal recommendation.
Then, a few days back, I happened to watch an interview on Film Companion with the actor Roshan Mathew (who made his debut in Bollywood with Choked), actor-producer Fahadh Fazil, and director-writer-and-many-other-roles Mahesh Narayanan. What attracted me to the interview? The line that ‘you need only 10-15 people to make a film, provided you have a right people’. The fact that the release was at the midnight helped me further.
I loved the interview. I loved the people. What they told made so much sense that I felt that the language barrier notwithstanding, these are the people who work in the way I would like to work. Then I turned to the movie exactly at midnight. Somehow it intrigued me. Also, I wanted to disagree with ‘Malayalam cinema is way better than Hindi cinema’. I don’t have a reason to do so now.
Coming to the film, this is a film shot entirely on iPhone. This is the film that has been shot with plenty of constraints in order – shot during Covid19 induced restrictions and lock-down among other things. This is the film that had to have a perfect script, else everything could have fallen apart. This is the film that relied so much more on performances because you can always see them zoomed-in. The film is almost entirely on video-calling. So, what really happened? The near-perfect script with even better performances.
The film, as per IMDB, is described in the following summary:
“Jimmy meets Anu on an online dating website and decides to marry her. Jimmy’s mother entrusts his cousin Kevin to get details about Anu. Now its Kevin’s turn to search for his cousin’s fiancée who vanished without a trace, only to discover dark, shocking truths about her.“
Now that you have their attention, rest assured, you won’t lose it till the film is over. The film is shot in a hyper-realistic manner, everything appears to be happening at the moment. Everything is, also, breezy. The suspense keeps building up, and slows down only in the last 5 minutes. The film is incredibly tight. The editing is superb (again by director himself). The film is designed somewhat too realistically. This film can scare people.
Fahadh Fazil is a supposed legend in Malayalam cinema – all built upon his performances. Let’s drop the world ‘supposed’. Let’s just call him a legend in Indian cinema. In a fair world, we would.fahadh fazil
Roshan Mathew is a delight. Having seen him again in Choked, I can really vouch for him. Darshana Rajendran’s performance, though, is pure cinema. She can make you feel anything she wants – with or without dialogues. The rest of the cast is apt. The ideal films usually have all their casts spot-on. Like a low-budget content-driven Hindi film, this film has a perfect cast with some heart-touching performances.
So, what else? More Malayalam cinema. I plan to be your window to the regional cinema, one by one. I would be a more authentic voice than the ones whose native language the film is in, because I would be watching the film the same way you will, subtitles and no inkling of what-the-f-is-going-on when you miss reading subtitles for a minute.