Ela Veezha Poonchira Malayalam Movie
Shahi Kabir's dark, brooding, immersive and atmospheric debut film Ela Veezha Poonchira serves up a simple plot set in a hill station with an element of mystery. The film revolves around cops in a police wireless communication center in a hilly area in Kerala. Soubin Shahir, Jude Anthany Joseph, and Sudhi Koppa play police officers who report on the climatic conditions and other events in the area through wireless phones.
Kabir uses a good part of the first half to set up the atmosphere of the film and the sense of isolation that the characters have in the remote place. There is hardly any plot in the first half of the film as it mainly shows these cops going about the routines of their jobs. Things perk up when law enforcement personnel find the parts of a human being's body placed in different areas of the hill station. The identity of the dead person and how the parts got there, contribute to the story of Ela Veezha Poonchira. The makers offer us a spine-chilling revelation or two each time a new body part is found.
The story is so simple, but the pleasure of watching the film stems from the immersive atmosphere that the makers have created for it. With his cinematographer Manesh Madhavan and sound designer Ajayan Adat, Kabir creates a sense of dread that permeates the air that surrounds the characters. Madhavan's camera work places the audience right in the thick of things, soaking up the atmosphere. The pacing may be a bit slow, but we feel a sense of urgency and nail-biting tension as the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place.
Kabir also uses silence masterfully here, allowing the audience to pause and think about the consequences of the deeds of the characters and what would happen to them. Almost every suspense thriller uses its plot or story as the main ingredient, but Kabir only uses it as a form of accessory here. In other words, the plot only adds to the film's central themes of loyalty and retribution.
At the hands of another filmmaker, this could have been a morality piece with life lessons, but Kabir makes it so existential and non-judgemental that we can only submit ourselves to the experience. I like how seemingly offhand gestures and casual remarks turn out to be more meaningful than meets the eye. Shaji Marad and Nidhish G's script contains clever asides, including one about how the place got the name Ilaveezha Poonchira. The cinematography creates the right weather for the film, and the performances act as its soul.
Soubin Shahir has had his fair share of duds lately but makes a strong comeback with Ela Veezha Poonchira. Soubin brings subtlety to his character and offers a disciplined performance that reminds us of how good he can be, given the right script. Watching Soubin weep with a great sense of control here is a sheer delight. Sudhi Koppa also gives a remarkable performance with a good deal of restraint. Koppa shows great improvement with each new film, and Ela Veezha Poonchira is no exception.