Aabhaasam: Film Review – A Dark Political Satire

Verdict: A film that seeks answers to issues plaguing the average man.

After months of delay, Aabhasam hits screens with an 'A' certification. But the ambitious movie is unlike anything Malayalam cinema has seen in recent times. Pregnant with dark humor and satire, Jubith Namradath’s directorial venture is worth every penny and every minute of your time. Produced by Sanju Unnithan and penned by Jubith, the flick stars Rima Kallingal, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Nassar, Alencier Lopez, Mamukoya, Shyam Sheetaland Indrans. The cinematography is by Prasanna S. Kumar, while Oorali has done the music.

What’s Aabhaasam all about:

Aabhasam is all about what transpires in an overnight bus journey from Bengaluru to Kerala aboard a Democracy Travels’ bus named Gandhi. The bus carries across borders a cross-section of society. From the strong and independent costume designer to the ostracised trans woman, to the little girl who wonders what the game her ‘uncle’ plays is called, Aabhasam brings many relevant issues to the fore. Abuse, violation of space and the assertion of it, religion, beef politics, moral policing—all find space in the journey. 

Aabhaasam review - BookMyShow

What works:

Aabhasam could easily be named one of the better satires in Malayalam cinema till date. While the cast of seasoned actors and a handful of debutants has done a fabulous job, the cinematography is almost flawless. The tight scripting ensures each of the characters on the bus gets to tell their tale—weaving stories within a story. The cranky old Ammachi from Kottayam, the ailing labourer, the lecherous driver, a young couple observing fast during Ramadan, all find voice in the movie. The recurrent imagery laced within the film is powerful. Rima Kallingal is in her element as the strong-willed woman, while Suraj Venjaramoodu shines as the anti-hero. Indrans, Mamukoya, and Alencier Lopez all do justice to their roles. It’s a treat to see Nassar back on screen. Sheetal Shyam puts up a convincing performance, which breaks the stereotypical portrayal of the LGBT community. Oorali adds to the film with powerful lyrics and musical presence. The background score by Dev and haunting and builds up the mood of the film. 

What could have been better:

In all honesty, Aabhasam is a fine piece of work if the audience is open to being questioned and prodded. The dark shades of humor may not be one for a family audience, but the 'A' certification takes care of that. 

Why you should watch this movie:

Watching Aabhasam is like reading a Franz Kafka, each frame has many stories to tell. It is something that simply cannot be ignored. Don't miss the chance to see brilliant movie on the big screen.

By Jan Varghese