Lilli directed by Prasobh Vijayan isn’t a perfect movie as some aspects of its weakness are strikingly visible. But as an experimental movie that tries to traverse in a different track without being conventional by any means, Lilli is an extremely impressive creation. Building intrigue is the key to approaching the climax of this movie and even though the errors are there in things like dialogue delivery, I walked out of the cinema hall as an optimistic movie buff, who saw an attempt that was delightfully promising. Lilli is extremely violent and is not at all recommended for those who can’t tolerate too much of bloodshed.
A young pregnant woman named Lilli is our title protagonist. She is living with her husband who is working in a factory. One day she gets a call that her husband met with an accident and when she was driving to his workplace, she gets abducted by three strangers. What was their demand and how Lilli gets out from that situation is the core of Lilli.
John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place wasn’t really a movie that was heavily political or message-driven. It was a fabulous example of how a detailed and meticulous making can give birth to a terrific film. I am not saying Lilli is a good as A Quiet Place. But the content here also is highly dependent on the making style. And where Prasobh Vijayan has managed to grab your attention is exactly there. The gory depiction isn’t getting wasted as it really works in favor of the movie when it reaches its climax. The physical empowering Prasobh has attributed to his female protagonist isn’t the Vijayashanthi type and seeing a woman do all these things in her most vulnerable state gives that hard-hitting feel to the viewers.
The biggest plus and the biggest minus for the movie, in my opinion, have to do with its leading lady Samyuktha Menon. The 23-year-old actress who decided to take up this role this early in her career deserves a huge round of applauds. And her physical transformation and the attention to detail in capturing the physicality of a pregnant woman are really fabulous. But the one area where she fails is in dialogue delivery. The casualness is missing there and I felt this problem even in certain emotional sequences of Theevandi as well. If she can work on that area of her acting, I think we have a really promising leading lady. Aaryan Krishna Menon who plays the role of the husband also has that dialogue delivery issue which he sort of covers up towards the climax using the character’s arc. Out of the main antagonists, Dhanesh Anand promises to be a good prospect. Sexy Durga fame Kannan Nair plays it minimally and because Kannan Nair was delivering his lines naturally, the theatricality in Samyuktha’s dialogue rendering became more evident.
As a maker Prasobh Vijayan leaves an impression that he likes to present things minimally. The second half of the movie has tracks that give clarity to us about the how’s and why’s in our head. But the writing has to be a little more inclined towards being organic. He has this idea of using lights to show the scary ambiance. Sreeraj Raveendran has used shadows very smartly. The scene where the chicken gets killed and the dog behaving better than humans etc. are a testament to the fact that Prasobh wants to give his statements and messages in the most subtle way. There is a parallel track of a guy who comes to rescue Lilli, which ends abruptly and I hope the sequel will have some clarification on why that character was necessary. Appu Bhattathiri’s cuts are impressive. He hasn’t done too much of flashy cuts, but the timing was precise enough to give us that impact. Sushin Shyam’s background score and the overall sound design of the film was really top notch.
Lilli is an indie movie attempt, has superior technical quality and forgettable flaws in the writing. The movie ends on a promising note as we are assured that Lilli will come back. The fact that it doesn’t feel like 90-minute long movie because of the way it has built the tension, shows that there is material in this minimal plot.
Lilli is an indie movie attempt, has superior technical quality and forgettable flaws in the writing.