Some movies are not really trying to be memorable or impactful through the cinematic craft. They have only one agenda, and that is to document an event or a person. The Face of the Faceless, directed by Shaison P. Ouseph and written by Jayapal Anandan, is one such attempt. Even though the sincerity in Vincy Aloshious’ performance reduces the flat nature of the movie to an extent, ultimately, it is a bland film about an actual person.
The movie is about Sister Rani Maria, who went from Kerala to Madhyapradesh for missionary activities. From the day she arrived in Udaynagar, she had witnessed the injustice faced by the tribal people of that village and how the landlords of those areas exploited them. What we see in the movie are the steps taken by Rani Maria and the setbacks she faced during her efforts to uplift the tribal community of that village.
If you do basic research about Sister Rani Maria, you can find this person named Samandar Singh. He was the man who killed Rani Maria in 1995, and later, Rani Maria’s family forgave him, and he lived the life of a different person after his jail term. If you look at the life story of Sister Rani Maria, I would say that’s the most cinematic element of her story. But instead of creating a character exploration drama from the perspective of Samandar Singh, Jayapal Anandan has opted for a very linear narrative with emotional elements that don’t evoke any angst. The making style by Shaison P. Ouseph only enhances the dullness of the script.
Vincy Aloshious is the only familiar face in the movie with an extensive role. As Rani Maria, Vincy has delivered a realistic performance, and to a great extent, her dialogue delivery saves the film from being a stage drama. Almost every other actor in the film isn’t a familiar face, and they all have small screen time.
There is a moment in the movie when a senior comes to visit Rani Maria in her convent for her deeds that were a bit too revolutionary, and a fellow sister starts to complain about the difficulties they faced because of Rani Maria. But her complaining gradually transitioned into a testimony for Rani Maria. The performance of the actress who played the role of the fellow nun wasn’t that great. But I am talking about this scene because that was perhaps the only scene that made me feel that they were set out to make a movie rather than a documentary. The creative decision to dub the North Indian portion in Malayalam was poor, in my opinion. But looking at the full-house audience with whom I saw the movie, it was quite evident that the intent is to spread the story rather than make the film look authentic.
Considering how she empowered the minority, made them realize their rights, and fought for them, the story of sister Rani Maria definitely deserves to be told on the big screen. But I hope someone else will narrate that story in a more cinematically compelling way that will portray the character’s resilience in a less preachy and more impactful way.
Even though the sincerity in Vincy Aloshious' performance reduces the flat nature of the movie to an extent, ultimately, it is a bland film about an actual person.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended