Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bhramaram -Review

As the monsoon showers down in torrents, Blessey concerns himself with the spirit of redemption that hovers around a bitter truth. Bhramaram is more of a sticky assemblage of hysterical high-points than a touching, emotional indictment on the profound sense of loss.

Unni (Suresh Menon), a stock broker by profession is surprised when a high school mate Sivankutty (Mohanlal) lands on him like an avalanche, one fine day. A good twenty five years having passed, Unni is barely able to recognize him, and is bewildered by his intentions. When Sivan coerces him to come visit his family, Unni realizes that a deliberately forgotten past is fast catching up on him.

It takes quite a bit of sputtering before the engine gathers enough verve to move forward. The initial obscurity that lingers over Sivankutty does tickle our curio nerve once in a while, but very soon gets tiresome. Particularly after the revelation that finally puts up a period firmly in place of the long series of question marks.

Touted as a road movie, the film suffers tremendous ruin once it hits the road. Unlike every appealing film in the genre, Bhramaram has no solid plot development to cash in on as its odd characters make a journey to their destination. Most of the tale has already been told and the rest of it could be deduced even before the ride starts.

It's here that Blessey decides to fuel up a bit, and vainly tries to bring in an extra little effect by cooking up fights on a roadside dhaba or by flashing a quick placard on the dismal plight of pubic lavatories. These frantic attempts come a full circle with the lead man taking a leak by the roadside, and an avid leaker-by taking a look and whimsically commenting that appearances could be illusory.

The climactic breakdown that has almost become routine in Blessey's films is exaggeratedly preserved in Bhramaram. Essentially the central character in Blessey's films deals with death and intense deprivation, and it's the same here as well, with every weep and wail faithfully retained. Somehow though, the melodramatic machinations appear all the more contrived with every new film. In plain words, it simply seems to be getting worse.

Mohanlal's acute performance as the man who has been repeatedly wronged is as best as it possibly could get. At times restrained and at times overwhelmingly disorderly, the man who has taken a severe battering from life, is safe in the actor's hands. An admirable feat indeed, since Lal continually jumps over the trap holes in the script and tries to make do with what he's truly capable of.

However, the true champion of the hour would be Ajayan Vincent who has drawn up some of the best rustic and urban visuals, through his exemplary cinematography. His camera that seems to have grown feet of its own occupies all sorts of vantage positions, whether it be hovering around a speeding cab, or busily crouching to an unobtrusive corner of the room as the door opens from outside. Much thought-out and elaborately planned, there are any number of stunning instances in the film that are watch worthy only on account of the technique that has captured it on film.

The incessant buzzing of the bumble bee that acts as an aural metaphor to all emotions that exemplify vengeance goes on and on. As it peaks for one last time in the closing shot, I wonder if the suggestion is that the most primeval of man's instincts doesn't ever wither off. After a brief interlude, it would most likely surface again, and articulate itself through more bouts of madness.

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