Arun Kumar Aravind's 'Left Right Left' is a daring, warm and thought provoking piece of film making that moves beyond the routine realm of politics. In shaping this hard-hitting and persuasive thriller, the director along with writer Murali Gopy deploys several inventive gambits that send formalistic structures of film making flying away in the winds.
Kaitheri Sahadevan (Hareesh Peradi) rises to the stature of the most venerated and feared Communist leader in the state, after having been through a despondent childhood that saw both his father and uncle being slain by oppressors. The year is 1976, when on a dark night, another attack leaves young Roy Joseph stranded on the street, with his bleeding dad breathing his last on his lap. He grows up to be Che Guvera Roy (Murali Gopy), and is hacked left and right by a bunch of assailants on the campus, rendering him incapacitated for life.
Ten years later, in 1986, a desperate boy watches the oxygen mask being snatched away from his sister's face, to be provided to a more affluent patient. He learns that the world around him could be mean and unjust and vows to be a cop one day to seek justice. At the police department he earns the nickname Vattu Jayan (Indrajith) for his reckless ways, and remains equally obsessed with Jennifer (Remya Nambeesan), a young girl on the run from her abusive husband and Anitha (Lena) on whom he develops a sister fixation.
'Left Right Left' is a ferocious exploration of the hard-hitting realities that we see all around us. Never purposefully sentimental or theatrical, it's made of raw emotions that make up human lives. The candid and intimate investigation that leads to a cathartic finale makes us realize that possibly the truth is not out there, where we believe it to be. It delivers those slaps, left, right and center, and almost all of them land right on place.
The four chief women characters in the film have in common only the period in which they live, and the fact that they are all survivors. Proclaiming herself to be both Aleida March and Hilda Gadea, Anitha is much more than a wife to Roy, while Jennifer doesn't think twice before crushing a few lives under her heels to get away from a life of torture and gloom. Deepa (Anusree) lives in constant dread and terror of an impending tragedy, while Jayan's mother (Sethulakshmi) refuses to break down, even as the last bit of hope is snatched away from her.
The directorial flair that had made 'Ee Adutha Kalathu' one of the best films that we had seen last year further finds expression in 'Left Right Left'. In a spectacular move, Arun Kumar Aravind lands the audience in a blackout at the most crucial moment in this genre twisting film, depriving them of an emotional release, and the restlessness that accompanies it has to be experienced, since no description would do justice to it.
It's refreshing to see that 'Left Right Left' keeps those banalities that one normally associates with a political film at bay. This is on account of the fact that it's a film that intricately dissects the political scenario of a state, never for a moment losing its focus on the tales of human struggle that lie almost concealed behind it. And this makes it a film that is as much about the individual as it is about the state.
Murali Gopy is a man I'm tremendously impressed with, and he seems to be getting better with each film of his. It's almost impossible to conclude if it's Murali the actor, or Murali the writer who bowled me over in 'Left Right Left'. Perhaps the grittiness in his razor sharp words that slice through your thoughts as a knife through a slab of cheese, prompts me to hand over the honor of the day to Murali, the writer. But the meticulousness with which he brings to Roy to life is too painstaking to be left ignored, and his remarkable performance lands the actor in him just a notch behind the writer.
Equally striking is Indrajith in the role of the vagrant cop who is taken for a royal ride before being thrown into the puddles of life. Hareesh Peradi is imposing as Sahadevan and without the flex of a muscle flouts menace straight out of his flaring eyes or his clenched jaw. Lena hurls another shocker at us, with her blast of a performance as Anitha, while Remya Nambeesan affirms yet again that she has an immense potential to deliver the goods. But the real rock star of 'Left Right Left' is none other than Sethulakshmi, whose whopper feat could only perhaps be acknowledged by a long, standing applause.
Shehnad Jalal, the man behind the camera keeps the gimmicks to the minimum, and instead with his invigorating frames slings the dirt, sweat and blood straight across our faces. Gopi Sunder's enchanting musical score is remarkably put to use, skillfully adding to the coherence of the narrative.
'Left Right Left' has a rare, melancholic poetic power that is magical in more ways than one. It invites the audience to delve deep beneath the rugged, craggy portrait of the society that we live in. A glorious tale on perseverance, struggles and survival, 'Left Right Left' enters the pantheon of must-see movies with grace.