Love (2021) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen

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‘Love’ attempts a horrific vivisection of a dysfunctional marriage and deftly works on the seeds of depressive confusion that it sows. Confronting their primal fears, the couple in ‘Love’ has a go at each other desperately, almost hysterically, letting us take a sneak peek at the monsters that lurk within them, that would stop at nothing until they have struck down their adversary dead. Another triumph from Khalid Rahman, this one!


How is it possible to hate with as much ferocity as one had once loved with? What is the decisive moment when one realizes that one has moved far beyond the juncture of no return? When does truth dawn on a mind that has been ravished in turns by adoration and abhorrence?  Why is it that our wicked selves are so frightfully capable of such appalling transformations?

Khalid Rahman’s ‘Love’ has fresh blood stains all over it, and tells a sordid tale of a sad marriage that sinks deeper by the minute. With pretty much little left to salvage it back to normalcy, the couple – Anoop (Shine Tom Chacko) and Deepthi (Rajisha Vijayan) – struggle to find one reason that would convince them to hold on to their terribly tattered relationship. Even worse, one reason that would keep them from killing each other.

‘Love’, as must have for anyone else who has watched the film, works for me in reverse, and I find it tremendously fascinating to dissect it from the climax backwards. Goes without saying that the final twenty minutes of the film is confrontational cinema at its best, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it leaves you gasping for breath.

A thoughtless instant, where Anoop lurches forward in fury and bangs his wife’s head against the wall is the starting point. As she lies dead in the washroom with a bag of beans almost flooding her, a friend of his (Gokulan) walks in with a lament of his own, wherein he admits his suspicion that his previous business associate is having a torrid affair with his wife.

Not much later, another friend (Sudhi Koppa) rings the bell with a woman (Veena Nandakumar) in tow, and the two retire to the bedroom where they settle down and analyse how they have been efficiently cheating on their respective spouses. Across the wall, Anoop vainly tries hard to fit his wife’s corpse into a bean bag and flops down in exhaustion beneath her lifeless stare and unflinching body.

Ironically ‘Love’ has just a handful of shots of the couple in love – three or four, to be precise – and the joy that that had once pervaded their selves has been relegated to the portraits that hang on the walls. A gloomy reminder of a not-so-distant past, their smiles that seem choked behind the frames finally find a way out as a fist rams into it and crushes the glass and leaves behind a red, sodden streak in memory of the joyful days that had once been.

The bruises that ‘Love’ leaves in its wake are notably not just emotional. The rage that the couple experiences spirals way beyond control and their loathing towards each other threatens to overwhelm their very physical selves. The fear, the mistrust and the devastating sense of resentment that boil within alter them into distorted apparitions that bear little resemblance to the jubilant beings that they originally were.

There is an unimaginable brutality that seeps in through the film’s finale, and the plot twists that await you are impressive. I couldn’t see either of them – the climactic and the pre-climactic twists – coming, and they make up for some (rare though) unconvincing writing that precedes them. This is a marriage that has gone fatalistically wrong, and the provocative strategies that the film maker adopts to essay it across are absolutely justifiable.

I should have thought twice when I felt like an actor like Rajisha deserved a better deal than being knocked out in the initial frame and spending the rest of the narrative clogged up in a corner of the washroom. The final few minutes of ‘Love’ underline what a terrific performer this woman is and she easily steals the show from everyone who has been there before her. Or after, for that matter. The three key male performers -Shine  Tom Chacko, Gokulan and Sudhi Koppa – are all good, but Johny Antony in a whacky cameo is way too good.

‘Love’ attempts a horrific vivisection of a dysfunctional marriage and deftly works on the seeds of depressive confusion that it sows. Confronting their primal fears, the couple in ‘Love’ has a go at each other desperately, almost hysterically, letting us take a sneak peek at the monsters that lurk within them, that would stop at nothing until they have struck down their adversary dead. Another triumph from Khalid Rahman, this one!


Verdict: Good


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