In this era of Me Too and Times up, we have seen a few films in many languages that dealt with abusive relationships, the idea of consent, misogyny, patriarchy, etc. Movies like Uyare, Pink and to a good extent the new film Kettyolanu Ente Malakha dealt with similar ideas and won the hearts of the audience. Stand Up directed by Vidhu Vincent is an attempt to be among that list of impactful films, but sadly the movie fails miserably to generate any such emotional impact. The earnest performance of Rajisha Vijayan is the only positive here but that too can’t make it a recommendable film.
We are shown an open-mic stand-up comedy event at the beginning where one of our leading ladies, Keerthi is performing her set. And the movie is narrated as a story she narrates to the audience. That story is about a girl named Diya who was in an abusive relationship and suffered a lot in it. What happens in that backstory is the content of Stand Up.
I have seen Vidhu Vincent’s first film Manhole and I wasn’t a huge fan of it as I found it as a docu-fiction with no cinematic charm to its credit. Whatever one can associate with a movie like Manhole is clearly there in Stand Up as well. Both are amateurish looking films in terms of direction and writing with topics of utmost relevance. Now that’s a very gray area when it comes to judging a film. Misogyny and violence against women are so prevalent in our society that any movie with something against that in its content may start to sound like a relevant film. But luckily in my defense, I can show some well-made movies that addressed these issues in a much more impactful manner. The main problem with Stand Up is that it is trying to spoon-feed the audience by literally saying everything loudly. Almost every character other than Diya feels like a caricature and I couldn’t find anything presented with subtlety in this movie.
The script by Umesh Omanakuttan isn’t gripping at any point. We can easily sense where the movie is going and Vidhu Vincent fails to bring in the intensity in each scene. The dialogues are so clichéd that a guy who was sitting in front of me started predicting it and he had a good time doing that. The movie tries to pep up scenes with the use of background score, but there wasn’t any impact because of the lack of flow in the creation of such scenes. The scene where Keerthi leaves her house and another scene where Keerthi assures Diya that she will be with her are supposed to be emotional peaks, but unfortunately, all that falls flat. The music and the visualization of songs were nice while the background music was disappointing in key moments.
As I already said, the only thing I liked in this movie was the effort of Rajisha Vijayan to make us feel for her character. I am pretty sure a segment of the audience may feel that this review is extremely harsh and the whole credit for that goes to this actor who passionately approaches her characters. Nimisha Sajayan is trying her best to look like a successful stand-up comedian. But there is a limit to all that when the writing can’t really create anything funny. And I still don’t know how a stand-up comedy set ended up like a Ted X talk. Venkitesh as Amal is extremely eccentric and as his character was an unlikeable one I am sort of confused whether it was his acting or the character that I disliked. Arjun Ashokan is a talented actor who got wasted in a role that doesn’t really need someone like him. Veteran actress Seema, Sunil Sukhada, Sajitha Madathil, Nisthar Sait, Rajesh Sharma, and a few more names are there in the cast.
Stand Up has the right intention of talking against misogyny, toxic relationships, gender equality, etc. The problem is its execution. If movies like Uyare, Pink, etc are like quality ads done by Prakash Varma’s Nirvana, Stand Up is like that Government ad about Toilets featuring Vidya Balan; the intent is in the right direction, but the impact is pretty much zero.
Stand Up has the right intention of talking against misogyny, toxic relationships, gender equality, etc. The problem is its execution.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended