From Fahadh Faasil’s Joji to Parvathy’s Aarkkariyam, 5 Malayalam Movies That Integrated COVID-19 Lockdown Into Their Narrative or Treatment (LatestLY Exclusive)

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Trust Malayalam cinema to not even allow the coronavirus and the nationwide lockdown to hamper its creative juices. In fact some of the filmmakers have gone ahead and even included the crises as part of their narrative, without eking out melodrama from the current pandemic. But before we get into those Malayalam movies, let’s first talk about that one film whose addressing of another viral pandemic – the real-life Nipah outbreak in Kerala – made it a movie to watch out in 2020, when COVID-19 had its first wave in India. Aashiq Abu’s VirusAashiq Abu Birthday Special: From Daddy Cool to Virus, Ranking All Feature-Length Movies of This Acclaimed Filmmaker From Worst to Best.

Virus, featuring an ensemble cast, got much appreciation from the pan-India audience for its strong narrative, its tribute to the frontline warriors and refraining itself from glorifying the political elements. Since Nipah and COVID-19 have similar symptoms and mode of transmission (also share similar origins), Virus gained even more attention in showing how Kerala managed to contain the outbreak. If only some of our administrators have seen the film… Sigh!

Anyway, after Virus became a talking point in 2020, let’s look at some other Malayalam films that came out after the first wave of the pandemic and creatively interspersed the ongoing problem into their narrative.

Wolf

Samyuktha Menon and Arjun Ashokan in Wolf

Streaming On: Zee5

Wolf is a thriller directed by Shaji Azeez, and is about a young man who goes to meet his fiancee in the middle of the night, only to get stuck there after lockdown is imposed. The girl, who is already repelled by his narcissistic attitude, wants him out of the house, though the reason is because they are not alone there. Wolf, starring Arjun Ashokan and Samyukta Menon, may not be a great film, but it has moments of suspense using the claustrophobic confines of a house and an unsure situation outside, and features a fine performance from Irshad. Wolf Movie Review: Samyuktha Menon and Arjun Ashokan Can’t Save This Confused Thriller.

Joji

Fahadh Faasil in Joji

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

The third film from the fantastic combo of director Dileesh Pothan and actor Fahadh Faasil is a Macbethian tale set in Idukki during COVID-19 times. It is a black comic thriller about a selfish, opportunistic youngster who commits a huge crime and tries to go to any length to hide what he has done. While coronavirus isn’t a compelling aspect of the story, it lends to some very interesting turns in the narrative, like the use of masks to hide a character’s real emotions. Or sneak in a funny cameo from the director himself.

Aarkkariyam

Biju Menon, Sharaf U Dheen and Parvathy Thiruvothu in Aarkkariyam

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

Cinematographer Sanu John Varghese’s debut directorial is about how we have started adjusting to the new normal thanks to the first wave of pandemic, and continue to do so ahead. It is a family drama, with each of its three main characters trying to find a way out of the complications created due to the pandemic. And yes, the film also throws a sinister secret right mid-way, leaving with two of the leads dealing with the repercussions of that knowledge. The movie features compelling performances from Biju Menon, Sharaf U Dheen and Parvathy Thiruvothu. Joji Movie Review: Fahadh Faasil Brings Another Shade of Grey to Dileesh Pothan’s Macbethian Tale of Greed.

The below two movies may not be exactly about the pandemic, but have used the lockdown situation to not hamper its creativity, only to enhance.

Love

Rajisha Vijayan and Shine Tom Chacko in Love

Streaming On: Netflix

One of the first two Malayalam movies to be shot during the first wave of the pandemic, Love is directed by the talented Khalid Rahman of Unda fame. Starring Shine Tom Chacko and Rajisha Vijayan in the lead, the movie is a claustrophobic drama about the fracturing of a young couple’s marriage, set within mostly the confines of their flat, with only a handful character dropping in. Love has an unusual storyline, with its deliberated confusing tone that keeps making you go WTF! in the end. Though a certain David Lynch would be proud! Love Movie Ending Explained: Decoding the Confusing, Complicated Climax of Shine Tom Chacko, Rajisha Vijayan’s Malayalam Film on Netflix.

CU Soon

Fahadh Faasil in CU Soon

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

The other Malayalam film that showed that how lockdown restrictions should not be a constraint in telling an arresting thriller. Taking a page of Aneesh Changaty’s Hollywood film Searching, director Mahesh Narayanan of Take/Off fame uses ingenious framing devices -like showing the narrative through video-calls, explaining plot points through Google Search – to tell a mystery revolving around three principal characters. While Fahadh Faasil is terrific as always and Roshan Mathew is dependable, the real star is the young Darshana Rajendran. The most interesting part of the movie is that it doesn’t even based during the lockdown times.

(The above story first appeared on Scoop Buddy on May 25, 2021 02:07 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website scoopbuddy.com).