Vasthavam Malayalam Movie Review
Hats off to director M. Padmakumar, who has come out with a very bold and different film in Vaasthavam. Padmakumar made his directorial debut with Ammakilikoodu and then gave us a very well-made Vargam, which however was not well accepted at the box office. And now with Vaasthavam, he proves that there still are directors who can tread fresh and unbeaten tracks and give us something new, something gutsy.
Vaasthavam takes us into the life of young Balachandran Adigal, the son of the idealistic Ramachandran Namboothiri. Balachandran is in love with young Sumithra, with whom he had grown up and who is also acceptable to Balachandran's parents and all their relatives.
All of a sudden an aged contractor Thrippan Namboothiri makes his entry with a marriage proposal for Balachandran. He wants Balachandran to marry his niece Surabhi and in exchange he proposes to secure him a job in the Government Secretariat, and because the family is in dire straits financially, he also promises to render financial help towards marrying off Balachandran's sisters.
Though Balachandran is dead against this, his family and even Sumithra convince him that it is the best option and he willy-nilly agrees to it. On his marriage night itself, his sister elopes with her lover, who is from another caste.
Balachandran reaches the capital city and meets Unnithan, who wields considerable influence over the bureaucracy. Unnithan gets Balachandran into government service in the secretariat. Though aged, Unnithan is a veteran of sorts and has his own ways and principles, which are practical though not very idealistic. He becomes a sort of a godfather for Balachandran and trains him in the art of receiving bribes and even tells him how to manage things in today's world.
After he sheds his ideals and principles, Balachandran takes all kinds of shortcuts, uses everyone for achieving his purposes and starts climbing the ladder of success. He very soon becomes the private secretary of Revenue Minister Pattom Raveendran, by his very clever machinations and manipulations. He becomes influential and rich, at a very young age. He uses Vimala Thankachi, the Minister's niece to take his first step towards success, and then uses the Minister's wife Radhamani, a goonda named Vasu and others to continue to prosper. But things are not so good in his personal life...
Director M. Padmakumar and writer Babu Janardhanan have done a really good job. The subject is well-chosen and the treatment is up to the mark.
Performance by Prithviraj as Balachandran is excellent. Kavya Madhavan as Sumithra, Samvritha as Surabhi and Sindhu Menon as Vimala Thankachi do their respective roles well. However, it's Jagathy Sreekumar who scores best as Unnithan. Murali as the minister Pattom Raveendran and Salim Kumar as Thrippan Namboothiri have also done justice to their roles.
The others in the cast are also OK, except perhaps Rajmohan Unnithan, who has to learn that acting is a lot different from delivering political speeches. Cinematography by Manoj Pillai, Art Direction by Saloo K. George and Editing by L. Bhoominathan are in sync with the theme.
Songs penned by Gireesh Puthencherry and set to tune by Alex Paul have also come off very well and merge with the film and the storyline.
In total Vaasthavam is a well-made film which has a very well worked out climax.
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