Apothecary Malayalam Movie
When two doctors set out to produce a feature film, with almost every frame set in a hospital, and without the slightest dose of entertainment or any other commercial element, it got to be pretty serious business! That the plot confines itself to the all-important subject of medical ethics, which is called in question so profoundly in the present times, adds to the supposed intensity of the movie. The good intent and social commitment of the team behind the project is evident in every frame of the movie.
Dr Vijay Nambiar (Suresh Gopi) is a senior Neuro-surgeon in Apothecary Hospital. Though he is gem of a person and a doctor, he is forced to join hands with the avaricious hospital management that wants money by hook or by crook. With highly unethical clinical trials and drug experimentation on human beings, costly and unwanted medicines forced upon the sick, superfluous pathological tests to recover the huge cost of machinery from patients - Apothecary Hospital, contrary to the spirit of its name, is a place that sells doom and death at infernal prices.
Dr Vijay Nambiar uses his poor patients to test drugs on the behest of a giant pharmaceutical company, killing a few, and leaving another few to live like the dead. He suffers immense stress and compunction from what he unwillingly does in the role of a healer, and the rest of the movie is his impending punishment and the final atonement.
Befitting the serious mood and intensity of the plot, Apothecary stays focused and glued to its protagonist's mental trauma thread throughout its running time. Emotions of love, parenthood, brotherhood, helplessness, doctor-patient relationship etc. are briefly touched in between, only to switch back with vehement force to the central character's overpowering feel of guilt. One might feel the lack of a little breathing space amidst the heavy dose of emotional drama once in a while. Had the movie been a shorter by like fifteen minutes in the middle portion, the impact could have been even better.
The pick for good performance is Jayasurya, with Suresh Gopi and Indrans closely behind. To play the role of the miserably sick Subin Joseph, Jayasurya as an artist has taken great pains, sacrifices and character. Rest of the cast include Asif Ali, Abhirami (on her comeback project), Meera Nandan, Raghavan, Seem G Nair, Lishoy etc, who have given decent performance.
Cinematography and background score, along with the directional style, have been of high class. Director Madhav Ramadasan, through the choice of a story and script that he has co-written with Hemanth Kumar, seems to be a man of intense cinema. His debut project 'Melvilasam' was an intense drama as well, having no subplots and entertaining value, and Apothecary is in the same mould. The subject of human patients being used as guinea pigs for medical experimentation might be fresh in the minds of audience who have watched recent movies like 'One by Two', which dents the novelty of Madhav's project a little bit.
Consistently echoing the timely and overpowering message that it conveys, tending to be a little over-emotional and repetitive at times, Apothecary comes out distinguishably strong and focused.