TRANCE – Movie Review; A stunner from Anwar Rasheed. Fahad Fazil at his best.

Why do people watch movies? The general answer would be for entertainment. But when the entertainment quotient meanders to cheap slapstick comedy, mindless violence and skin show, you get the kind of cinema you are watching today. Great films are born, when a film director takes it upon himself to add something extra which compels the viewers to use their brain to comprehend the movie. Trance, the Malayalam movie directed by Anwar Rasheed falls exactly into that genre. The movie deals with a subject which very few people dare to take on these days, religion. It takes you through the story of Viju prasad, who is a struggling motivational trainer in Kanyakumari. Viju has a troubled past and an younger brother who is mentally unwell. The motivational speaker is turned into a pastor by two corporate guys (Gautham Menon & Chemban Vinod) who know how to sell religion to gullible and blind devotees.

Viju prasad is renamed as Joshua Carlton and the gift of the gab he possesses is turned to lure devotees. Viju rises to the top and earns millions for the company that is formed just to mint cash in the name of religion. The ensuing differences between Viju Prasad and his sponsors unfold as the movie progresses.

The fist half is stunning and hard hitting. The second half of the movie is supposedly the imagination of the lead character. The movie is open to many interpretations. You are kept guessing, whether the second half is real or just the imagination of the protagonist who is in a state of coma after fatally attacked by his sponsors’. The director throws slight hints here and there without revealing things and that itself shows the calibre of the movie. I do not recollect any movie in recent years, which has an open ending like Trance and subject to so many interpretations. It is an indication of the maturity level our film makers are reaching.

The movie is stunning and hard hitting and the best one released so far this year in India. It is India’s answer to Quentin Tarantino. It is swift and fast and touches the real issue of exploiting people in the name of religion although It could rub some people in the wrong way. That is the precise reason why it has got a mixed review from the press.

Fahad Fazil has delivered a stunning performance as the pastor. His troubled past, dealing with a mentally unwell sibling, stunning transformation as the pastor, struggles to maintain the bubble going, the repentance and the downfall, Fahad has delivered it with stunning conviction. It is the kind of performance you have not witnessed from a lead actor for a long time. Nazria plays the role with ease. Other notable performance come from Dilesh Pothan (Avarachan) who trains Viju to become a successful preacher. Performance of Soubin Shahir, otherwise a reliable actor and one of the faces of agents of change in Malyalam film industry, is disappointing. He needs to improve his diction and dialogue delivery while doing roles out of his comfort zone. Similarly, Chemban Vinod could not match up to the role of a corporate Honcho. Gautam Menon’s does not bring anything new to the role of a typical villain. Magnificent camera work by Amal Neerad further adds to the quality of the movie. The sound design by Resul Pookutty and the background score by Sushin Shyam is of international standard.

Finally all credit goes to the director Anwar Rasheed who dared to think differently and chose to walk on a path less travelled. We certainly need more films like Trance which addresses the real issues and questions the society as a whole.

Anjam Pathira- Movie review- Definitely not a thriller

Anjam Pathira (Fifth Midnight), directed by Midhun Manuel Thomas is a Malayalam crime movie. Police men gets killed in the city of Kochi, which prompts the investigation team to believe that a serial killer is on the run. The police is clueless regarding the death of their colleagues. Investigation is led by a lady officer Catherine Maria (Unnimaya Prasad) and the team, which includes ACP Anil Madhavan (Jinu Joseph) and a psychologist Anwar Hussain( Kunchacko Boban), is all at dark when police men, one after another gets killed. The only clue left behind by the murderer is the statue of neethi devatha (goddess of justice)

The story takes you through the various hurdles the investigation team meets on the trail of the killer. The killer is always one step ahead. Various plots and sub plots later you reach the real culprit. But the story loses the steam well before the climax.

This is not the edge of the thriller, as many are touting it to be. Although the movie keeps you interested upto a point but it does not get into you. There are many holes in the script. It was interesting to note that why the question of only the police men gets killed never seriously crossed the minds of the investigating team. It is also hard to believe that a criminal psychologist was involved in the entire investigation and he leads you to the real culprit ( Yeah, the super hero always does it single-handedly! Do not blame the director, blame it on the star system ingrained in your subconscious) . The body exchange of the Christian priest with a convict, that too in a jail is hard to believe. The director, who also wrote the script, did not have a grip on the entire plot is evedient from these faux pas.

The criminal investigation thrillers should able to hitch you slowly and keep the viewer guessing. The plot is not new, as we have seen or heard this story line multiple times. The treatment is also not new. So what is the director offering new keeps popping up in your mind especially if you are watching the movie after reading the reviews and all that hype and hoopla.

The cinematography by Shaiju Khalid, is good, but again not great as being claimed by many. The background music is some time jarring. in the acting deparment, Kunchacko Boban, Unnimaya, and Sreenath bhasi are good (Again not great), while Ramya Nambeesan is totally wasted as the wife of the psychologist. Indrans showed the range of the actor in the brief role assigned to him, especially with that chilling smile. Sharaf U dheen could not measure up to the role essayed to him, same goes for Jinu Joseph.

The climax is a dampner. The climax plays an important part in any crime thriller. It is appreciable that the director Midhun Manuel Thomas , who is mainly known for his comic flicks has dared to change the track. All in all it is a watchable movie but not a great thriller.

Rating:3/5

Director & Writer: Midhun Manuel Thomas

Cinematorgraphy: Shyju Khalid

Producer: Ashiq Usman

Picture: Courtesy Google

Video Clip: Courtesy You tube