Vilaapangalkkappuram, which won young Priyanka the Kerala State Award for Best Actress, finally saw the light of the projector room.
Helmed by the National Award winning director TV Chandran, the Malayalam film tells the story of the teenager Sahira (Priyanka), a victim of communal riots in Gujarat circa 2002. Sahira, born to a Malayali father and a Gujarati mother, sees her parents and younger sibling being killed by the rioters. She herself is brutally raped and left for dead but somehow escapes and reaches her father's homeland. There, she lands up in a private nursing home run by a lady doctor (played by Suhasini). The good doctor helps her recuperate physically as well as psychologically.
The story by Aryaadan Shaukath then goes on to show how local community responds to her misery. The intellectuals discuss her plight nursing a drink. People of her community want to take her under their protection. And, a married young man (Sudheesh) even wishes to marry her under the pretext of giving her shelter.
Though strong in content, the narrative lacks the subtlety desired from such a venture. Chandran's screenplay makes sure that the viewer does not need to exercise his brain as everything is spelt out for him.
There are no grey shades in the story or the characters. Everything is demarcated in black and white. We can ignore this as a slight blemish. But Chandran does not mind calling a spade a spade. He uses MJ Radhakrishnan's cinematography to show how perverted the males of this world are.
Priyanka has won the Best Actress Award for her muted performance. She has to convey the horror of what she has gone through her body language and listless eyes, which she does proficiently. She is ably supported by Suhasini even though she disappears for most of the second half.
Vilaapangalkkappuram may have its faults but it works because its heart is in the right place.