#RIP Ranjesh Pillai, the news regarding his passing came out around the same time Vettah was being released. The news was indeed shocking as he was one of the best new generation directors who promised a bright future for Malayalam cinema. Vettah, as a whole, could not be the best farewell film for the late director but it was indeed a exciting ride.
Sreebala IPS (Manju Warrier) remembers a case that influenced her personal as well as professional life immensely. Melvin Phillip (Kuchacko Boban) a major suspect in the case of missing actress Uma Satyamoorthy (Sanusha) is a psychologically manipulative criminal who tries to agitate both Sreebala and her friend and partner Xylex Abraham (Indrajit Sukumaran) into a deviation from the case. Melvin keeps talking about his wife’s infidelity that made him kill her. He simply puts forward that her lover was with Uma and therefore he was forced to kill them both and hide their bodies in a hilly region. He tries to tempt Xylex into thinking about how much infidelity of their respective partners could hurt them. Amidst the investigation, Xylex finds out that his wife might be having an extramarital affair and ends up killing her lover. Sreebala, on the other hand, starts digging deeper into the accident that left her father (Vijay Raghavan) mentally handicapped. The rest of the plot deals with Sreebala and Xylex’s hunt for the truth and facts.
At least that’s what the premise of the film is. Overall the film happens through Melvin’s point of view and the investigation ends in his words. Both Sreebala and Xylex have no role there. The film has good suspense and you will keep trying to figure out the outcome, but the plotpoints of this film is stacked in a confusing manner with nonlinear type story telling, so a second viewing might be needed. The biggest fault is with the pacing. One can get bored while watching this film due to the very slow pacing and due to the presentation of several plotpoints at once in the initial phase of this film. At the end of the whole ordeal presented, Sreebala just becomes a ruse in Melvin’s game, therefore, if the audience is expecting a woman-centric film with her shining, you are wrong. Even though it slowly brought in a good moment (the memory card scene), the climax was too disappointing. Being the victim of circumstances, Melvin is the anti-hero for the deeds he did, so the overall turn of the story was bit hard to digest.
The movie loosely introduces the real-life incident where a child was locked in a kennel as the punishment by the principal. That a nerve-wracking moment but it lacked the punch that finds it’s way into the hearts of the audience because at the end of the day we will remember Melvin on how he manipulated Sreebala and Xylex.
Manju Warrier delivered a controlled performance sticking to her reputation but she could not shine in a powerful position. Indrajit looked striking for the role but his character seemed too complicated to be explained but the depth was something worth mentioning. Kuchacko Boban did a different type of role. He tried a similar one in seniors with an attempt to shed his usual chocolate boy image. He stuck to his core performance well but it lacked soul. He looked too sweet for that character inspite of the dark shade makeup under his eyes and on his cheeks. Rajesh Pillai introduced a whole new tone with the cinematography and editing; pacing however in a way slowed down the overall mood the film was trying to create. The music was good as it enhanced the mood at some points but it at times it stuck to the Malayalam film making tradition, i.e. noisiness during intense scenes.
Vettah is a good one-time watch film and perceptions may vary from different individuals.
Featured image: topmovierankings.com