The craftsmanship in Shyamaprasad's 'Ivide' is almost flawless, and it's a film that warrants a patient, tolerant and equitable watch. Tense and solidly gripping, 'Ivide'is remarkably shot and leaves a pertinent mark in the viewer's minds with its pointed characterization and decidedly pungent narrative.
Varun Blake (Prithviraj) is an officer with the Atlanta Police Department, who is mystified at the murders of a series of people of Indian origin; a crime that has just about started making national news. His ex-wife Roshni Mathew (Bhavana) has recently joined a booming Indian software company led by Krish Hebbar (Nivin Pauly)and love strikes between the former school classmates in no time.
Shyamaprasad's 'Ivide' is a tricky film in that it almost coerces you into the belief that a thriller is in the offing. And while the thrills are very much there, it does not limit itself to being a murder caper, and instead probes deep into the psychological states that its three leading characters are forced to live with.
Varun has been battling with a few demons for a long time, and his journey from a foster home at Kottayam to Atlanta has been courtesy the Blakes, who had adopted the Indian boy. The husband leaves soon after, bored by the romanticism that the adoption was to offer but which it never did, and Mrs. Blake is left alone with a disturbed Varun.
Over the years, the young boy evolves into a man with grave emotional issues, which leads to his tormented wife seeking a restraining order and a divorce. Varun's only affirmative connection with the real world seems to be his daughter Trisha, who spends her time shuttling between her estranged parents.
Roshni is very much the modern Indian woman, who knows what she wants in life, and is even surer as to what she doesn't. Uninterested in being a punching bag to Varun's mounting frustrations, she leaves him and seeks refuge in a new career. She is laos quick to respond to the vibes that she receives from Krishna, and decides to give life another chance.
One would be confounded by the person that Hebbar is, and of the three, he looks and sounds the most complex. With ample shades of grey splashed all over his persona, Hebbar comes across as a man whom you would need a lifetime to truly comprehend. He is also the character that undergoes the staunchest of transformations, and furtively holds for us several surprises in store.
Ajayan Venugopalan's screenplay persistently adjusts the stakes and the mystery element in 'Ivide' builds up to an appealing climax where conventions go for a toss. It isn't exactly the task of a film maker to cater to the expectations regarding a film, and Shyamaprasad makes no compromise in this regard. Rather, he steadfastly goes about his job, leniently pushing one puzzle piece against the other, until the picture is whole and complete.
'Ivide' is in no hurry, and takes its own sweet time to throw in the revelations before us. And in doing so, it taps on multiple concerns that have grabbed attention at the moment in the US. These range from the escalating apprehension regarding outsourcing to petty crime, from identity issues to those specifically linked to the Indian diaspora in the country.
'Ivide' has Prithviraj in superb form, and as Varun Blake, Prithvi exudes a brawny charisma that is almost jaw-dropping. The brooding cop is safe in this amazing actor's hands, and he gets everything about the character - the diction, body language and the gesticulations - absolutely right. Nivin Pauly underplays his character and creates a stir with his composed performance, while Bhavana lives and breathes the role of a woman who has been to hell and back.
Eric Dickinson's verite cinematography captures the city of Atlanta in all its glory, and peps it up even further with some stunningly beautiful nightscape. Gopi Sunder has generated a luscious musical score for 'Ivide' that gels delightfully well with the sober tone of the film.
Shyamaprasad's 'Ivide' speaks expressively to the audience, and the sensitiveness with which it does so, renders it a place close to our hearts. A character driven drama that dwells on a mystery, 'Ivide' is a demanding film that dexterously holds a mirror up to contemporary life in the United States of America.
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