My son had done the online booking for me, so there was no need to rush. Leisurley gardening in the morning , leisurely lunch at noon which I hadn’t cooked and leisurely lolling around listening to some old hindi songs later, I realised I had just about half an hour to get to the Multiplex and be seated and ready to watch “Ivide”, the latest film by Shyamaprasad who is my favourite malyalam movie director.
So I didn’t get to wear the intended sari, a habit I’m almost losing touch with after leaving my job, as the underskirt had no string and there was no time to pull out one from another and string it through this one using a safety pin .Nor was there time to iron a pair of salwar-kameez …so I just got into one which didn’t need ironing , snatched a duppatta, which, once out of the house , I realised was a dark navy blue one instead of the black , which was to match my salwar. But I really didn’t care as my spirits were high as is always the case with a Shyamaprasad film.
The skies were sombre and trees along the road were trembling and shedding their leaves….the ambience provided by the weather was a perfect prelude for the crime thriller that “Ivide” was reported to be.
And I’m a die-hard crime-thriller fan. I love watching TV serials which involve crime investigation, current addictions being “Monk” and “ Mentalist” on Star World.
I love watching them for the reason that the better scripted ones exposes us to the darker shades lurking inside people who are perceived most of the time as normal and harmless . When the story unfolds in ways that allows for a peek into the mental state of the crime-doer and his or her circumstances , or the reason for the crime , one does wonder if we can be so damn sure that we would have behaved differently if we were in his or her shoes.
I’m not so sure that viewers who will go to see this film because it has been labelled a crime thriller , will be entirely satisfied.But a fan like me who would have gone to see it with or without any tags, because of past experiences of watching this Director’s films , will not be disappointed.
The story, scripted by Ajayan Venugopal, who had also done the scripting for Shyamaprasad’s earlier film “English”, is set in Atlanta and revolves around three main characters. Varun Blake, a police officer played by Prithviraj; Krish Hebbal (played by Nivin Pauly), a self- made IT professional who has helped build up the company he works for during the eight year span since his arrival in America as a software programmer and is an aspirant for the position of CEO, which he thinks he deserves , and Varun’s ex-wife ,Roshni Mathews, who has newly joined Krish’s firm enacted by Bhavna. It also turned out that Krish and were old schoolmates.
There are quite a few undercurrents to the story which moves forward even as Varun tries to investigate the murder of another IT guy whose relevance to the story is that he is an Indian immigrant in the land of dreams. Varun’s broken relationship with Roshni whom he still loves, his discomfort at the growing closeness between her and Krish, the manipulative tendencies winning over Krish’s integrity when he sees his future being threatened and Roshni’s anguish when this aspect of his personality becomes apparent all play out during the course of the film.
This surely is the most well emoted role by Prithviraj. He has slipped into the role of the young man with his personal demons, who as a six year old orphan in India had been adopted by an American couple and who grew up in that country , with the same ease with which he carries off the body language and diction of a police officer adept in his job. One was left wondering at the cause of his explosive anger, which estranged his wife and left him to maintain a physical distance away from her after the divorce came through , because of a restraining order , till it was explained in an exchange he had with his adoptive mother , some time after the interval. One may hold a view that his contained animosity towards his adoptive parents may have been a matter of his perception and hence not justified. In fact, there is a hint that he himself may have questioned the validity of his angst , when the background narrative in his own voice, which acts as a thread to the story right from the beginning, wonders where in life he would have been , had they pointed to another child in the orphanage as their choice .
How many of us wonder about the pyschological confusions that such adoptions may possibly generate when a poor / orphaned dark-skinned child has to grow up in a white-skinned dominated society ? How much do those societies reflect on it? I wouldn’t know , but the reverse is hardly the case , isn’t it….a white skinned foreigner being adopted and growing up in India? Would we have made it easier for them?
And what about the mindset of those who look upon the society they migrate to as inferior in morals or cultural values and deserving of disdain as individuals , even as they partake of the opportunities of that land to further their prospects in life?
And yet, in such and all other cases of human interactions, we do hold on to grudges , sometimes merely on the premise of our perceptions, don’t we?
Nivin Pauly’s role as the upwardly mobile IT immigrant from South India ( the fact that his virtual conversations with his mother was always in malayalam from his side , while she spoke in Kannada, was slightly incongruent or may be I missed the explanation) was performed well enough, but definitley did not match Prithviraj’s prowess. I guess youngsters sailing towards greener pastures that they perceive the developed world to be, can relate to the uncertainties that plagued a career like his , once they start trying to and succeed in getting a foothold there.
Scratch any scar of tension between two communities anywhere in the world and at any time in history and one will perhaps find the fear of being overpowered and being left bereft , in either or both. It is the same fear, which many a time plays out into reality, that feeds the underlying and often overtly expressed animosity between an immigrant community and the local population. Why Indians fear the Bangladeshi influx or why the UP “bhaiyyas” are resented in Maharashtra or why the Bihari and Bengali labourers are not open-heartedly welcomed in Keral a or elsewhere isn’t really different from why an American who has returned from the warfield in Iraq is likely to feel when he finds that the job he takes up after returning to his civilian life in his homeland is lost because of outsourcing, is it?
These nuances of human relationships are the forte of Shyamaprasad’s films and “ivide” does full justice to that genre.
The background score was excellently merged into the scenes, softly and unobtrusively. I liked the two songs too.
Loved the way the camera took us along.
I also liked the way the film ended. Have always suspected the veracity of the quote ascribed to Buddha though , notwithstanding the fact that tis a beautiful one, “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you