Vasanthathinte Kanal Vazhikalil Malayalam Movie Review
There has almost been a deluge of films that have focused on the communist movement in Kerala, some of which have struck a fine chord with the audiences. 'Vasanthathinte Kanalvazhikalil' is the latest addition to the lot, which however does not offer any new insights whatsoever.
The film that has been set in 1945, at an age when stress and strife ruled the roost in the country, attempts to trace the seeds of communism that were sown in the Kerala soil. A village, like hundreds of similar ones in the state, forms the backdrop for the film maker to explore a societal setting that reeked of injustice and discrimination.
The revolutionary heroes who had ushered in the red flag are all brought into the picture. While Comrade Krishna Pillai (Samuthirakani) moves about in disguise, spearheading the movement, other renowned political figures as EMS Namboothirpadu (Sudheesh), A K Gopalan (V K Baiju) and Rairu Nambiar (Ritesh) make a fleeting appearance.
As is customary in films as these, the first hour is spent in depicting the inequity meted out to the lower castes, with the occasional, though rare protests that are forcibly put down without so much as a whimper. While the men are trodden into the dirt, the women are raped and abused.
When the revolutionary leader finally makes his appearance, it's as a lemon seller. Perhaps in an attempt to leave no crowd pleaser stones unturned, finely choreographed action sequences follow, almost lending the leaders the stature of a star.
The weakest piece of the film lies in the present, since it's a story being told in flashback to a television crew that has set out to do a reality show on the lives of great revolutionaries. The crew led by a leading journalist (Mukesh), dabbles on diverse issues as dowry and the lack of humanitarian concerns, but very little of all these come across convincingly on screen.
While the two narratives are distinctly different, there is a sharp contrast between the two. The former that involves the television crew is rooted in a cluster of cliches, whereas the latter that talks of the past is much closer to reality. But it does wind up reasonably well, thanks to the way Chirutha (P K Medini) concludes her life story.
Of the performances, the film undoubtedly belongs to Samuthirakkani who essays the role of Krishna Pillai to perfection. V K Baiju, albeit in a very short role as AKG, does leave a tremendous impact as well. Of the women, Surabhi does a remarkably good job of playing Chirutha, and is ably supported by veteran actor KPAC Lalitha.
Surprisingly, 'Vasanthathinte Kanalvazhikalil' has an incredibly beautiful musical score, perhaps one among the best that we have heard in recent times. With such names as Dakshinamoorthy, Perumbavoor Raveendranath, James Vasanthan, M K Arjunan and P K Medini contributing to it, its perhaps not much of a wonder.
'Vasanthathinte Kanalvazhikalil' could best be seen as a tribute to a political and cultural movement that had brought about a red revolution in the state. Cinematically though, it's a middling film that has very few fresh sights on offer.