Verdict: This film has its heart in the right place.

Light in the Room, whose original title is Ottamuri Velicham, is a Malayalam film by Rahul Riji Nair that was a hit in the film festival circles. It has won numerous awards, from the German Star of India Award for Best Feature Film at the 15th Indian Film Festival Stuttgart as well as the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Feature Film. It was also the First Runner Up in the Feature Film category at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival. The gripping film trailer is enough to pull you towards the theatres and the film does the rest in keeping you hooked till the very end.

What’s Light in the Room (Ottamuri Velicham) About:

A young girl named Sudha (Vineetha Koshy) gets married to a much older Chandran (Deepak Parambol) and moves in with him and his family. Located in a beautiful hilltop village surrounded by a dense forest and a decaying tea plantation is Chandran’s house, which is not what any newly-wed bride would ever want to be in. Sudha soon realizes that she will be sharing a tiny single-room house with just a curtain separating the couple and Chandran’s mother (Pouly Valsan) and brother Ramesh (Renjit Shekar Nair). To make things worse, Chandran forbids Sudha from switching off or even touching the light in the room that he considers his greatest invention. Adding to her woes is Chandran exerting physical and psychological dominance over her. Realizing that she has no one to turn to for help against the abuse she faces, Sudha takes matters into her own hands. Whether she succeeds in escaping Chandran’s house forms the rest of the plot.

What Works:

The metaphor of “light” is always considered good or positive while “darkness” has a negative sense to it. But Rahul Riji does the complete opposite as he makes “light” the antagonist here. He has picked up the issue of marital rape that has for long been ignored in cinema. The film shows how the heinous act is normalized within families and how it’s time for us to wake up and act. The performances have been exceptional. From a glowing newly-wed woman to a victim of marital rape to finally a fierce and independent woman, Vineetha Koshy transforms her character with much ease. As the evil Chandran, Deepak Parambol succeeds in making you hate him with fervor. The cinematography by Luke Jose is spectacular with the way he uses the forest greenery and the changing light to denote Sudha’s deepest feelings and fears.

What Could’ve Been Better:

The climax of the film seems too predictable. A few songs could have been avoided as that would have made this film short and crisp.

Why You Should Watch:

Rahul Riji’s Light in the Room/ Ottamuri Velicham gives a platform to the voices that need to be heard and have been ignored for far too long. If you are someone who lives for realistic stories, then this is the film for you.

Other Films To Watch At MAMI:

If you liked this film then you should definitely catch the film Soni.