Multiple theories are possible for the latest Sanal Kumar Sasidharan film Vazhakk which deals with self-introspection. Vazhakk shows one day in the life of a young man who is having a troubled married life. While the first and second act kind of has this exposition nature, in the third act Sanal gives the movie an interpretable shape.
Sidharthan is an advocate who is going through a rough patch in his personal life. His extramarital affairs have affected his marriage and his wife is desperate to get a divorce from him. Sidharthan’s journey through a dangerous jungle and the events that unfold when he finds a physically abused woman and her child are what we see in Vazhakk.
Spoiler alert! This paragraph will have my interpretation of the movie’s ambiguous treatment. I looked at the film as this hallucination of the hero. What he sees in the life of the woman and child he found in the forest is pretty much the same as what has happened in his family life. The only difference is that the excuses are overtly sophisticated and they justify their action as human vulnerability. If you go by the theory I mentioned, it can be considered as the smart tactic of Sanal Kumar Sasidharan to let us know what might have happened in Sidharthan’s life. The nameless character played by Sudev Nair is almost like a God intervention, who literally says, “Who am I is not important. But right now I am here!”
Sanal uses the medium to establish the metaphors. Sidharthan is trapped in a jungle and he is lost. The characters he meets are reflections of his own family. The script occasionally deviates into becoming a social critique as it mocks the double standards of human beings in being a solution provider in someone else’s life. The movie starts with this single shot that shows the galaxies eventually landing on earth. I read it as a visual representation of showing how minuscule our egos are in this gigantic creation. The several episodes are shot in this uncut manner (with easily visible hidden cuts) that goes from handheld autofocus shots to drone footage. The ripple effect and all would need a second time viewing for me to assign a definition for that creative decision.
Tovino Thomas in his Kala look gets into the skin of the character very easily, and his dialogue rendering is very organic. Even those emotional shifts in his character looked neat. Kani Kusruthi and Azees Nedumangad were excellent in their performance as the quarreling couple. The guy who applied the “less is more” strategy and won the applause was Sudev Nair whose badass swagger was pretty good.
Vazhakk: The Quarrel is an absorbing drama that gets the format of a thriller. Post its Indian Premiere, Sanal Kumar Sasidharan aptly put this movie as the mainstream movie among the indie experiments. If you enjoy finding meanings in movies with less spoon-feeding and ambiguous endings, this niche experiment from Sanal Kumar Sasidharan is worth watching.
If you enjoy finding meanings in movies with less spoon-feeding and ambiguous endings, this niche experiment from Sanal Kumar Sasidharan is worth watching.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended