Paresh C Palicha feels Veettilekkula Vazhi puts Malayalam cinema on the comeback trail. Post YOUR reviews here!
A journey can be a process of self-discovery and the person who undertakes it comes to terms with his inner demons and understands how futile it is to clutch at a past that is best forgotten.
Director Dr Biju has shown one such journey in his latest film Veettilekkula Vazhi -- The Way Home, which has been judged Best Feature Film in Malayalam in the recently announced 58th National Film Awards.
Prithviraj plays the lead role of a doctor who undertakes a journey in order to keep his word given to a patient on her deathbed. Her wish was that her son be reunited with his father. The problem is that the father is a notorious terrorist and she does not trust the police to make her final wish come true.
The doctor, a Malayalee working in Delhi, takes upon himself the arduous task of fetching the five-year-old boy (Master Govardhan) from Kerala and going in search of his father, Abdul Suban Tariq, one of the most wanted men in India.
His first stop is Pushkar in Rajasthan, where he meets Tariq's accomplice Rasaq (Indrajith). No real violence is shown and the tension never really comes to the surface. Even the arguments and dialogues are kept at an intellectual level, simmering but not coming to a boil.
The film can also be seen as a 'road movie' where we are shown new vistas and new modes of transport every few minutes. The film appears very simple on the surface and it's difficult to make out whether this is intentional a deliberately minimalist approach - or a flaw. The camera-work by M J Radhakrishnan captures the harsh heat and dust of Rajasthan and the biting chill of Ladakh. Also, the sync sound works well.
The cast is predominantly male. The two main female roles by Lakshmipriya as the child's mother and Dhanya Mary Varghese as his caretaker are cameos.
Prithviraj as the nameless doctor (everyone just calls him 'doctor') is symbolic of a person who thinks that the purpose of his mission is more important than his identity or his life. But it is odd that a five-year-old boy remains nameless throughout, with no one asking his name. The child actor is the director's son.
On the whole, despite its flaws and minor glitches in the plot, Veettilekkula Vazhi raises the hope that Malayalam cinema is on the path of revival.