MOVIE REVIEW: TRAFFIC [Malayalam]


First movie after a 3 month break and what a WAY to start 2011. Listening to a random Good morning Kerala Interview couple of days back on Indiavision,  wherein one of the casts of the film was being interviewed, just left me a little curious on what this movie is all about.

This movie centres around a sequence of events, occurring at a Traffic Island in the heart of Ernakulam, over a span of 12 hours on a September 16. Raihan [Vineeth Srinivasan] has jus gotten into a new job as a journalist at IndiaVision and is about to do his first interview – of the Movie superstar Siddharth [Rahman].  Dr. Abel [Kunchako Boban] has just purchased a new Swift to surprise his wife Shwetha [Remya Nambeeshan] on their 1st wedding anniversary. Sudevan [Sreenivasan] is a clean police constable who recently got suspended for accepting a bribe and is finding ways to clear his name and reputation.

The chain of events kick off with Raihan’s interview with Siddharth being preponed, so he decides to hitch a ride with his friend Rajeev [Asif Ali] to get to the news station ASAP. All it took is a random speeding vehicle which whizzed past at a red signal to knock them off their bike and leaving Raihan fatally injured. His imminent death is interwoven with the chronic illness [heart disease] of Siddharth’s daughter whose life could be saved if an immediate heart transplant is done.

The movie thrives on the impossible mission of trying to get Raihan’s heart from Lakeshore hospital in Ernakulam to Ahalya hospital in Palakkad, a journey of 150 km, to be completed within 2hours! The background score has a more lasting impression merely due to the wonderful script where we eagerly wait to see the mission completed. The movie bluntly deals with the inadequacies of our roads and the bribery of our Indian system, how politicians and men in power misuse the Govt. services to their use and yet they are not willing to help out the common man.

On a parallel track runs 2 stories – Dr. Abel finding out about his wife cheating with his best friend and the anger and the anguish he feels when he finds out about the infidelity. Medical ethics are also prodded and probed a bit on where exactly do we define – Saving a life or Ending one.

It’s a brilliant work by the writers Bobby and Sanjay. A very realistic approach, makes you feel at home with Rajesh Pillai’s direction, so much so that when you leave the theatre, you will feel a little more responsible next time you hit the road.  Coincidence or not that his movie has released just after we Celebrated Road Safety Week.

The ensemble of cast in this movie is brilliant. Considering almost all spend an equal amount of screen time, its clearly evident how strong some of the actors are.  My most riveting moment was Raihan’s mom reflecting over his interview on her mobile and where she sits beside him in the ICU. So subtle with emotions and yet one could feel a mother’s love.

The future of Malayalam industry is bright, if and only if we grow out of the shadows of the “Superstars” where stories aren’t made to suit them rather actors tune themselves into a good script!

I will not go on and on with spoilers, cause this movie is worth every penny.

FINAL VERDICT – 8.5 *

  • Asif Ali, Sai Kumar, Kunchako Boban and Anoop Menon are the strong performers in addition to Sreenivasan and Rahman.
  • Go and watch this movie. At a time when posters are often misleading [on a first look, it seems like a college goers movie]. It has got it all. A perfect mix of emotions and guaranteed you will find yourself applauding at some of the most electrifying moments in the 2 hours.

The Art of Bribery


 

I am a person who has never been comfortable in any way to confront a situation involving bribery. I just somehow cant grab the hints these ‘People’ offer neither do I figure out how to go about it. Needless to say with the amount of corruption in India, it isn’t that hard to learn as and when the need arises.

Scene: A visit to the Village Office

Purpose of Visit: Requesting OBC Certificate

Belonging to the OBC Category [Other Backward Classes] has a lot of advantages as all my fellow colleagues know.  Being born and brought up outside India, it never struck me or my parents how important the certificates proving your religion, caste and creed are in the Indian scenario.

1330hrs: Arrive at village office, fill necessary application forms.

1345hrs: Meet Village Officer, verifies documents. Finds fault with one (apparently not genuine). Asks me to come back next day.

1430hrs: I come home, Pull a few strings. (Told to meet a middle man at the office. He will be waiting for me)

1630hrs: Arrive at village office, rings the middle man up. He sets up an appointment with the Village officer. (He repeatedly specifies I meet him ‘after’ the job at hand is done)

1700hrs: Requested Certificate ready

1715hrs: Meets middle man. He is seated with a number of his colleagues past the normal working hrs. I tell him I got the thing done and hands over an envelope (Rs.500/- ). 

Middle man: “No, No, it is ok. I do not need anything, This is just a small job.” 

Me: “Are you sure?” . 

Middle Man: “No worries”

1730hrs: Call from the party (the strings):

“Why did you not give the money?”.

Me: ”I repeatedly asked him and he said No thanks.”

“Did you give it in front of the others?”

Me: “Yes, only his colleagues, no one else.”

“Ayyooo. Now look what you did! Of course he will not take anything in front of others!”

Me: “Sorry?”

“Its ok now. I will collect the money later from you”

Inference:

  • There are certain etiquettes, norms which as an Indian citizen we should follow when it comes to bribing someone.
  • Since corruption as we all know is so common wherever we turn.. it might as well be better if we had some book on ‘10 Easy ways to bribe your way Around’ 😉

India is ranked at a dismal 87th in the Transparency International ranking of countries. Only we can help us.