Director: Padma Kumar
Producer: Srichakra Films
Cast: Prithviraj, Kavya Madhavan, Jagathy Sreekumar, Salim Kumar, Murali, Jagdish, Sreeraman, Sreejith Ravi, TG Ravi, Meghanathan, Prathapan, Sindhu Menon, Samvritha Sunil, Usha, Manga Mahesh, Seema G Nair, Rimi Mohan.
Music: Alex Paul
Lyrics: Girish Puthencherry
Once again, it’s time to rejoice for a scriptwriter and director who has relentlessly followed their insights and neither added a scene or shot to make their film feel more commercial or artistic. Yes, in Vaasthavam, director Padmakumar together with Babu Janardhanan has weaved a story of interlocking destines and the film holds you riveted till it lasts. And after several hiccups, Prithviraj once again has come of age with Vaasthavam in which he plays a corrupt, emotionless pragmatic secretariat staff who rises to the corridors of power with his practicality. The film is worth a watch in the theatres, thanks to an engaging directorial style of Padmakumar who believes in simple and straightforward way of story telling in this heavily loaded film.
The film is a welcome change in the placid superstar driven Malayalam film industry. It packs in quite a lot in terms of “a message for the masses” using the non-patented formulae successfully. Top line performance by principle actors, authentic locations, moodily lit interiors, good dialogues and spurts of emotional scenes are the major highlights of this action drama. The film is a blizzard of events of life in the capital secretariat which cumulatively leave an impact of a glossy documentary on the bureaucracy driven system.
Raghavan Master (Sreeraman), a scion of a high Namboothiri family and an ardent communist is now in crisis as his Tharavadu is devoid of the fame and fortune it once had. Balachandran Adiga is his only son who has the burden of looking after his family and his four nubile daughters. He knows the difficulties involved in bringing the family back from the brink of nothingness and in marrying off his sisters. Balachandran’s eldest sister Shobha does some tailoring and manges a low earning with which the family is kept out of hunger. Balachandran is engaged to Sumithra, his cousin and childhood pal.
But in the turn of events, One Thripran Namboodhiri (Salim kumar) comes with an offer to marry his niece to Balachandran, thereby agreeing to make him a secretariat staff and there by save their sinking family. Sumithra forces Balchandran to risk their dreams for the sake of his family. He is forced to forget his murappennu and childhood playmate Sumitra and is compelled to marry Surabhi a girl from a rich family, to tackle the serious economic adversities that his family faces. Not withstanding the family chaos Balachandran’s younger sister Shubha walks out with Adivasi leader Sreedharan, in the day of the Balachandran’s marriage, causing irreparable damage to the family reputation, following which his mother dies. Sumithra finally marries a cruel and corrupt police officer who is always doubtful on the character of his wife.
These story lines are narrated well before the credit lines roles in. At this juncture Balachandran joins the job at the Secretariat. He lives with seventy year old Unnithan Asan who acts as his guide all through the corruption filled secretariate. His financial needs also tends him to become another corrupt officer who is always in the lookout for money and power. He deliberately pretends himself as a bachelor which gives space for Vimala, a divorcee to make a try in his life. Balachandran manages the situation well and with the help of Vimala, who happens to be the relative of revenue minister Pattam Raveendran, climbs the ladder of beaurocracy in a rather speedy way. Vaasthavam traces the growth of Balachandran, from a lowly clerk to a position of an ultimate bureaucrat who can control every sectors of administration of the State and the glitz and despotism he develop with the reconciliation with power and money. Vaasthavam is a mirror to today’s social and political happenings and the failure of the democratic system to rise above individuals.
The film with a gripping story line provided by Babu Janardanan, features Prithviraj as Balachandran .On the acting front, Padmakumar extracts excellent performance from all the actors. Prithviraj’s performance has to be seen to be believed as the actor has improved leaps and bounds into a matured actor with excellent dialogue delivery and body language. Jagathy as Unnithan Asan has again carved out a feast out of little, and is the loadstar all through the first half. All the three heroines, Kavya as Sumithra, Samvrutha as Surabhi and Sindhu Menon as Vimala has author backed up roles, each one standing different from the other, quite rare in Malayalam now a days. Kavya is the most likable as she conveys all her emotions through her large expressive eyes. Jagadeesh as a dummy minister Shibu Vattappara also stands out with his performance after a long time. All the supporting cast like Murali, Sona Nair, Madhupaal, Salimkumar and Meghanathan are impressive.
The film has a few good songs tuned by Alex Paul which are melodious and soothing. On the whole it is a feel good entertainer recommended for people who care for a bit for realism. The rest of the crew have also delivered impressive outputs and director has to be credited for making no compromises as the film moves at deliberate slow pace, as demanded by the plot .The camerawork of Manoj Pillai is pleasing. Padmakumar has tried to show his style with a solid and straightforward plot with an emotional core. Director deserves distinction marks for handling the subject with such conviction. Every vital point in the story has been handled expertly by the storyteller, besides working hard on the performances of the six principal characters. .
The twists and turns in the storyline take the film to another level completely. An intelligent attempt to change the saturnine style of commercial mixup, the director is before the audience with a power of content. If you are looking for a sensible film with substance, go ahead and have a blast.