When you select a subject that is based on a true event of a big scale, the big question is which part of the whole process will be your focus. The writing trio of the movie Virus, Muhsin Parari, Suhas and Sharafu, has managed to crack that part and this cinematic interpretation of the Nipah outbreak that happened in Kozhikode. And thus the movie Virus becomes a thrilling experience rather than mere documentation. Aashiq Abu and his team have managed to pull off a humanistic story of teamwork and the quality of the movie is definitely top notch.
I don’t think there is a need to talk about the plot here. A peculiar type of fever cases got reported at Kozhikode medical college and BMH. The officials weren’t able to identify the reason for this type of fever and pretty soon the suspicions of it being Nipah got confirmed. The movie Virus mostly focuses on the task of the government team to identify the possible victims and also to make sure that nobody else has become a transmitter of this deadly disease.
There are so many things brilliant about this movie and if you ask what gave scope for all those flashes of brilliance, I would credit the screenplay for all that. The writers have addressed a lot of things through even a very subtle gesture or a response. In one scene when Rima Kallingal’s character is talking to her husband on phone, a bystander of a patient calls for help and sort of scolds her saying something like do your job and don’t play on the phone. It’s the most effective and simplest way to show how insensitive we are towards the thankless job the nurses do. There are so many such minimal inclusions of problems of people from various areas of life which makes this movie a rooted story about a great collective effort. The first half of the movie is actually more like an introduction to the fear and the movie does capture it effectively. The second half is a very unique thriller that is desperately trying to find a link between two deceased people so that some unnecessary political moves can be averted. The real reason why the movie becomes an engaging experience is that it chose that thriller format in the second half.
This is one movie, where talking about the actors can take a huge chunk of the review. Because almost everyone is appreciated for their talent through the characters given to them. If I have to pick two favorites, I would go with Sreenath Bhasi and Parvathy and the reason for that is pretty unexplainable. There is a scene for almost every actor in this movie and the chances of anyone getting lost in the crowd is very less. Rahman as the caring doctor, who first suggests the possibility of it being Nipah, Kunchabo Boban as the doctor who is the guiding light for the whole team, Tovino Thomas as the sensible collector who wants to keep things under control, Poornima as the health secretary and Revathy as the stern minister were all good in showing the responsibility assigned to their characters. Sreenath Bhasi, Asif Ali and Sharaf U Dheen have got characters with a lot of pain inside them. The casting department appreciates actors like Rajamani, Joju George, etc by giving them simple yet memorable characters. Soubin Shahir who appears in the last quarter of the film was impressive. Rima Kallingal was really good in that scene where her character got admitted in Kozhikode medical college. Indrajith gets a different version of Vattu Jayan and I loved him in that role. And Parvathy’s Anu with that realistic innocence and earnestness was also really good. Dileesh Pothan, Zakariya, Remya Nambeesas, Unnimaya Prasad, Basil Joseph, Madonna Sebastian, Indrans and several other faces are there who all did their respective characters very neatly.
Going into the film, I had a concern that whether I can buy the idea of them replacing a UV Jose with a Tovino Thomas. But from the initial scene itself, the movie manages to put us in that believable fictional zone. Aashiq Abu has decided to make the movie on real locations and that has really helped the movie in attaining that texture of danger. The screenplay by the trio uses fiction mainly to humanize the numerous characters in the film. There is a least explained burden of past attached with a few of the victims of the virus attack and the good part is that it smoothly takes the movie away from a documentary zone. A patient named Unnikrishnan having problems with his parents has given the story two dimensions. It creates empathy for that character and also provides a crucial clue in solving the puzzle. The screenplay also addresses multiple issues like terrorist links and several other aspects that got surfaced in social media and other platforms during that time. Rajeev Ravi and Shyju Khalid have done the cinematography for the project and it has managed to capture the terrifying situation very effectively. A Pudhuppettai style light play was visible in those hospital sequences. Saiju Sreedharan has done a tremendous job in the editing table. His style of cutting keeps us occupied for the entire run time and I really loved the casualty title montage in the beginning. Sushin Shyam’s EDM like background score really enhances the visual drama and the good thing is that the movie respects the value of silence.
The collective effort on and off the screen has really enabled Virus to be a superbly made thriller. Every department has done a commendable job in their efforts to present an authentic story. And the most brilliant one of them all was the script that made sure that every character has a little bit of back-story which will make them a real human being on screen.
The collective effort on and off the screen has really enabled Virus to be a superbly made thriller. Every department has done a commendable job in their efforts to present an authentic story.