The cinema halls in Kerala are finally open and the first Malayalam film to reach the audience is Jayasurya starrer Vellam. This Prajesh Sen directorial, based on a true story, revolves around Murali (Jayasurya) an alcoholic. Murali is a do-gooder and loved by all in his village in Kannur. However, his addiction to alcohol creates a rift in his family life. His wife Sunitha (Samyuktha Menon) a seamstress by profession is quite tired of his behavior. He steals from his home and eventually, the villagers also start ignoring him. Though Murali wants to stop drinking, his addiction and the friends that he has never let him change. Where Murali’s alcohol addiction takes him eventually is what the film is all about.
Jayasurya proves his mettle yet again
Time and again, Jayasurya has proven the range of his acting, but his performance in Vellam leaves the audience in awe. There isn’t even one scene where he seems sober to you – that’s how realistic his looks and performance are in the film. Be it the scene where he passes out in front of his house or the one where he literally licks the floor to taste some alcohol – it is all done with such perfection. In fact, no other actor would have been able to pull off this role. Jayasurya deserves a huge round of applause and possibly some awards too for essaying Murali. Samyuktha Menon also deserves appreciation – though she does not have much screen space, wherever she appears, she has done an absolutely stunning job. This would in fact be the best performance from her to date.
Stunning visuals and superb treatment
The visuals of Vellam are extremely appealing. Roby Varghese Raj’s cinematography needs to be mentioned, for it anchors a good part of the film. Prajesh Sen famous for making Captain, teams up with Jayasurya yet again, and both the actor and the director has delivered something extraordinary. The topic of alcohol abuse has been used many times, but Vellam shows the plight of an alcoholic and his life pretty well, rather than covering it up with humor. However, there are times when you feel there is the glorification of the alcoholic – “he might be an alcoholic, but see how good a human he is” could have been avoided. They could have chosen to show his toxic behavior as toxic rather than making us sympathize with him. Some scenarios lack clarity and there are moments where it gets too preachy. Yet, instead of winding it up as a sad story of a drunkard, the makers have tried something different and made it look like all the effort was worth it.
WATCH OR NOT
Vellam definitely deserves a watch; if you are a cinema lover and prefer good performances, watch this one for Jayasurya. Also, this film deserves to be watched for the way it has shown alcohol abuse and gives hope to cope with the situation. For good performances, a strong plot, and good music, watch Vellam in a theatre near you.
Director: Prajesh Sen
Writer: Prajesh Sen
Starring: Jayasurya, Samyuktha Menon, Siddique, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sreelakshmi
Cinematography: Roby Varghese Raj