In the last few years, if you look at the contents of our movies, especially the ones that claim to be pertinent, have been audited by the audience for their political correctness and progressiveness. Even writers have famously said that they sort of double-check it with others to make sure that they don’t eventually end up endorsing something regressive. Vivekanandan Viralaanu is the story of a sex addict. But the movie is written so amateurishly that you sort of feel that director Kamal “woke” up really late.
As the title suggests, Vivekanandan is our central character. He has a wife and daughter, and he works in Ernakulam and goes to his house every weekend. This sex-addict womanizer is in a relationship with another woman named Dayana in Ernakulam. The violent fantasies of Vivekanandan have given trauma to both these women, and what we see in Vivekanandan Viralaanu is the events that unfold when the two decide to do something about it.
When I saw the last few movies directed by Balachandra Menon, I felt that there was a clear misunderstanding of how veteran filmmakers have read the generations that came after them. The sort of patronizing tone in their writing and the disinterest in understanding things from that generation’s POV made those films unbearable and unintentionally funny. The same can be said about Vivekanandan Viralaanu as the way Kamal, as a writer, uses social media as a tool has zero nuances. YouTube and the internet are not a fantasy concept like Pandora. And the careless use of something like that in a pivotal phase of the movie kind of makes you wonder whether the filmmaker had taken the audience for granted.
Feminism, my body – my choice, etc., have been there in the socio-political conversations of society in the last decade or so. When you watch something like a Vivekanandan Viralaanu, what you get is a feeling that director Kamal is desperately trying to sound like an avid supporter of all those ideas. In the writing, especially when it comes to creating characters, there is no effort to understand them. Towards the end of the film, the way both the women realize how they don’t need the validation of the internet to make the right decision is staged so badly that it just exposes the “We are also woke” desperation of the film. The outdatedness is pretty evident in how the scenes are written and conceived.
Shine Tom Chacko, as the perverted hero, delivers a caricature-like performance. Kamal and Shine had claimed in interviews that the character is sort of different from the usual stuff Shine does in all the other films. But frankly, the pitch and mannerisms of this performance were very much in the typical Shine Tom Chacko zone. Swasika, as the wife character Sithara, gets a character that isn’t necessarily challenging, and the typical beats of that character are performed neatly by her. The talented Grace Antony gets a severely underwritten character, and it was sad to see her trying to add life to some overtly theatrical dialogues in the climax. Mareena Michael, as the YouTuber, also gets to play this poorly researched character, and it was a forgettable performance. Johny Antony, Maala Parvathy, Sarath Sabha, Sminu Sijo, Manju Pillai, etc., are the other names in the star cast.
Vivekanandan Viralaanu is like a really late entry to the feministic conversations, and that too with only a surface-level understanding of the emotional baggage of characters. The character of Vivekanandan is someone who needs to be treated. But the gallery-pleasing nature of the script decides to treat him strictly as a criminal.
Vivekanandan Viralaanu is like a really late entry to the feministic conversations, and that too with only a surface-level understanding of the emotional baggage of characters.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended