Vela, the new Shane Nigam starrer with Sunny Wayne playing the antagonist, is a very interesting mix of police procedural, caste politics, and revenge. Syam Sasi, who has worked as an associate of Rajeev Ravi, succeeds to an extent in keeping the audience excited about the content. The script by M Sajas was compelling until it reached the final act, where the predictability somewhat diminished the charm.
Ullas Augustine got posted in the police force after his father died during the service. Ullas was in the control room duty, and he got suspended after he decided to intervene in a personal capacity in a crime that was reported to him. Ullas knew that something big was associated with that case, and he doubted the involvement of SI Mallikarjunan. The efforts of Ullas to find out the truth with his limited powers and resources is what we see in Vela.
Vela is not really a whodunit, as it is pretty much evident in the movie’s first act that Mallikarjunan is the bad guy and has done something heinous. The thrill Vela tries to explore has to do with the limitations of Ullas in finding out the details of the big nexus. When the movie reaches the midway point, we realize the power of Mallikarjun. But in the movie’s second half, Ullas decides to go all guns blazing, and the film enters an exciting phase in those moments. The fake call distraction that sort of opens up the third act of the movie was interesting, but somewhere, you can sense where the film is going, and you will be able to predict the identities of the people behind the phone before they get revealed.
Shane Nigam, as Ullas, is really solid. The way he portrays the officer’s honesty never looks animated, and even the moments of emotional outbursts look very organic on screen. As the antagonist, Sunny Wayne was the real highlight as he pulled off the character mainly through body language and expressions. I usually am not a fan of his sluggish dialog delivery, but here, he makes an effort to modulate that sluggishness to achieve the arrogance of a casteist person, and you will really feel like slapping that guy. Siddharth Bharathan is there as Ullas’ superior, and the other prominent character in the movie is Aditi Balan, along with scriptwriter M Sajas.
Syam Sasi comes from the school of Rajeev Ravi, and we can sense that influence in the way he has set the frames. The visuals by Suresh Rajan are not very theatrical, and we can feel a rawness to the way visuals have been captured. The cinematography sort of gives us an onlooker perspective. A more significant part of the story happens at night, and that also helps the movie to achieve that ambiance. M Sajas, who had previously written Asif Ali starrer Mandharam, opts for an entirely different theme this time. I really liked the way he staged the film and also the way he established the politics of the characters. As I already said, when it comes to the final phase of the movie, the movie delivers pretty much what we expected. That inability to go above expectations was perhaps the only demerit of this movie.
A lot of the films that were conceived during the Corona phase with minimal locations were creatively underwhelming movies. But you can’t really write off Vela as a similar hasty job. The earnestness with which the team has approached the theme is evident in the craft of the movie; it’s just that the climax was slightly on the shaky side.
The earnestness with which the team has approached the theme is evident in the craft of the movie; it's just that the climax was slightly on the shaky side.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended