Published on: 2/23/2021

Vellam, the essential drink movie review

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‘Njanentha cheyyande, nirthan pattande?’ Murali asks helplessly when his mother curses him for the shame he has brought to the family after a tussle at a family function. His alcohol use disorder is affecting not just him, but his family and everyone related to him. He is basically a good person and a good Samaritan, but everything he does ends up badly due to his unhealthy alcohol use.

The Prajeesh Sen directorial, set in Kannur, explores substance use struggles and the process of recovery in a realistic manner. The story, based on the life of one of the producers of the film, successfully makes the audience connect to and empathise with its beautiful narration, impeccable acting, magnificent cinematography and music. The director also convincingly looks at both sides of the coin. At one point, Murali's friend tells him that alcohol consumption isn't bad, but within limits. The most important aspect that needs a mention is that the film is dedicated to eliminating the stigma related to alcohol abuse and those who have recovered from it.

The survival drama revolves around Murali, enacted by Jayasurya. As usual, his effort to play the character to perfection is evident, and is probably one of his best roles. In one scene, Murali licks a drop of spirit off the floor; there are several such sequences to show the severity of what the character is going through, and leaves viewers spellbound by the actor's calibre. His micro expressions, body language and even his physical appearance - with dirt in his nails - is perfect. Samyuktha Menon who plays his wife, the doctor played by Sidhique and the actors who enacted his friends and family, seem to add to the actor's performance.

As the movie comes to an end, the message of the healing power of love comes strongly through. The film is contemporary and relevant, as we saw how many in Kerala struggled - including several people putting an end to their lives - when bars were closed during the lockdown. The film can be considered as an eye opener for Malayalis, both those who are suffering from alcohol use disorder and the others around them who struggle due to the abuse.
2/23/2021 | 1146 | Permalink