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Bollywood Movie Reviews

2018, Supremely Inspiring Masterpiece




Rating: **** ½

To make  a  film so profoundly moving on the  2018 cataclysmic  floods in Kerala is not  an easy task. Director  Jude Anthony Joseph has managed the  impossible. He has converted  a natural  disaster into a cinematic  symphony of trauma and healing .

Every character , no matter how big or small, is  etched in  vivid colours, and no  matter how  insignificant  a gesture  of kindness may seem  from the outside,  every  helping hand is  contoured with  compassion.

True,the  cornucopia  of  characters  is initially daunting , even to those who are  familiar with Malayalam actors, the  outflow of  population gets  unmanageable. And yes at time the mellow drama  descends  into  melodrama. But once the actual story kicks in , there is much to appreciate and  applaud as a flood of  dexterously crafted  heart-in-the-mouth  episodes, and moments  where  it is hard to hold back our tears, ,merge with an accentuated flourish.

 The  first rule of a successful  survival drama is that the  crisis  on hand should  hold the audiences by their throats  and  not let go till the last  shred  of emotion is  exhausted.  2018 builds  its  drama on a  solid foundation. It has at  its disposal a  slew of super-talented actors , none more  so  than   the incredibly charming Thomas Tovino who brings to his ex-soldier’s role  an exceptional  rhythm and  grace . The way his do-gooder  character Anoop spreads his goodness  out  into  Nature’s fury is  comforting and inspiring.

 But  Tovino is  not alone in his heroic  positioning in the plot. There are bravehearts flooding this fabulous film on the furious floods in Kerala that showed the wrath  of  Nature and  the  compassionate  side of the human nature, reified so  eloquently in the truck driver Sethupathi( played by a superbly  nuanced  Kalaiyarasan) who reforms from a self-seeking nomad to a  home loving family man .

The most well written roles are  those played by  the magnificent Lal as the brash but benevolent  patriarch of  a fishing family, and his  sons played by a likeable Asif Ali and Narain,who use their skills in the ocean to fight the ferocity of the  floods.

The  sore  point,if an,is  that  a gallery of beautiful actresses get submerged in this tale of masculine bravery , which  is  the way it was  , and is,  during a time of  Nature’s  fury. I wish the screenplay(by Jude Anthany Joseph and  Akhil Dharmajan) had more breathing space for less characters.

There are so many people crowding the canvas that sometimes it feel s like the  director has bitten more than he  can  chew. But the sheer enormity  of  the  vision and the  recreation of the floods  in all its raging fury,  will take your breath away.The cinematography (Akhil George) captures the calamity with equanimity while the  editing(Chaman Chakko) makes you wonder what’s been left out.

Finally , the death of two of the  protagonists left me deeply saddened. They were not just characters on the screen. They were  people I carried  home with me, saving lives at the risk of losing their own.Who does that!

 Watch this epic masterpiece  about large hearts  on the large screen. A flood of characters , from a man rushing home by train truck and what-not  to bridge the right  with his wife, to  a blind man waiting to be rescued , will haunt you. This  illuminating illustration of the spirit of  kinship during crisis will serve as  cinematic beacon of hope for many years  to come.

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