Boomi Malayalam Malayalam Movie Review
It's impossible not to be haunted as one watches TV Chandran's 'Bhoomi Malayalam'. Not because the film itself is exceptional, but because it reminds one of Panahi's 'Dayereh' that had mesmerized audiences worldwide.
Granted, cinema has been spilling over with films that have dwelled on the predicament of the modern woman in a world that has been witnessing a tremendous flux in gender issues. But the structural similarities between the two afore mentioned films is what makes the scrutiny essential.
'Bhoomi Malayalam' is a series of tales that have been stringed together in a commentarial format that ruminates on the social scenario that's prevalent in the state today. Evidently, Chandran sees 'Bhoomi Malayalam' as much more universal than the term suggests and comes up with a slightly peculiar subtitle that proclaims 'Mother Earth'.
His characters however inhabit the southern most state of India, and principally concern themselves with diverse regional affairs - political, economical and even individual at times. The base on which they move about, is essentially promising as well, as Chandran sees the archetypal Malayali womanhood as experiencing ghastly nightmares, day after day, with no end in sight to the trauma.
These are terribly bruised women, with their lives being tormented in unimaginable ways. Sathi (Kripa) has lost her brother in a horrific tale that sees a bunch of cops stoning him to death. Nirmala (Samvrutha) is yet to get over the appalling scene of her younger sibling being hacked to death by a bunch of goons. Fousiya (Padmapriya) is the sprightly TV journalist who finds herself caught at the most defining moment in her life when her orthodox father-in-law forces his son to file a divorce notice against her. There is Annie (Priyanka) as well, a gifted athlete who forsakes her career for a miserable marriage with an insensitive man, and who finds her dreams and aspirations blown off in the dusty wind.
The patriarchal state of affairs that Chandran draws up, has men trampling their women under their heels, grinding them to the dirt. The man here who wounds, plunders, rapes and murders without a second thought, is predominantly forceful, lecherous and often downright inhuman. There is also something extremely familiar with the concerns that the filmmaker attempts to raise. Almost all of it, in its entirety has been separately dealt with in innumerable films before in much greater detail and with much finer precision.
There are a few impressions that leave a powerful impact in the viewer's mind. And yet, there is a feeling of incompleteness that one cannot do without once the film is complete. The tales are narrated and left halfway through, most of them almost curtailed abruptly. A couple do make it to the finishing line, albeit a bit hesitatingly and even forcefully. Perhaps a conclusion could never be expected for a quandary as this, but the roundabout way in which the film finally grinds to a halt, makes you wish that they had opted for an alternative.
Chandran has almost managed to get some of the finest talents in showbiz putting in their very best into this film. His top-class cast ensemble however is eclipsed by a whopper of a performance by Priyanka. This is a top-notch feat from the actor that should undoubtedly be the talk of the town for a few days to come.
It's not too difficult to identify with Chandran's torch bearers. We see them all around us, all the time, and hence the film is dramatically rich, no doubt. But ultimately they merely remain a bunch of icons, sans any real blood and flesh, sans any real breath and life.