Our top pick this week
Virus Story: A series of deaths in Kerala’s Kozhikode and Malappuram districts shock medical practitioners. Then, as the State confirms the outbreak of a deadly virus named Nipah, a group of medical professionals, health officials and the people of the districts join together to tackle it.
Virus Review: Nurse Akhila, who took care of a Zachariah who was admitted in her hospital with fever, headache and vomiting, is now wheeled into the causality at Kozhikode Medical College and she asks him to be intubated.Here, Rima Kallingal portrays Akhila with perfection, Malayalis will definitely think back to the heroic, 32-year-old nurse, Lini Puthussery who died treating the first victim of the Nipah virus in Kerala.
A year after Kerala witnessed the shocking outbreak, Aashiq Abu comes up with a realistic narrative based on it. Apart from Kozhikode-native Zachariah,few other cases are identified in adjacent places and the death toll rises. Gradually its confirmed that a deadly virus named Nipah is spreading across the districts and hence an emergency situation is declared , and medical practitioners and healthcare professionals, led by Health Minister C K Prameela and District Collector Paul V Abraham, camp in Kozhikode to tackle the crisis.
The film progresses as a chronological depiction of the real-life experiences in Kozhikode and Malappuram which we are aware through the news reports,and paying tribute to scientists, medical professionals and the people who came forward to support the team to solve the virus attack.
The Starcast of Revathy as Health Minister, Parvathy, Kunchacko Boban, Rahman, Sreenath Basi, Indrajith and Unni Maya as medical practitioners, Tovino as district collector, Poornima as health service director and Asif Ali, Soubin, Dharshana and Madonna Sebastian as patients—flows at a captivating pace in the beginning. It tells a story that is hard, realistic and a bit close to the bone, as you are aware that the disease is back for real in the State now.
However, as the film documents the events from a year back, there seems a lot going on at the same pace, making it difficult to connect at times with any one character in the second half. While trying to create the backstory of each Nipah-affected patient, the writers create various mini dramas, but have they done justice to each one?Perhaps!
Elsewhere in the film, the makers try to prove that the Nipah outbreak in Kerala isn’t a bio-weapon attack by any other country or organisation, the director, subtly, brings in a bit of his Leftist politics, suggesting how the LDF government tackled the issue. Ironically, the film is released at a time when a patient in Kochi is under observation due to Nipah virus.
The film’s narrative has a striking resemblance to the Hollywood medical thriller, ‘Contagion’. Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography sets the right tone for the documentary-fiction. Sushin Shyam’s music is good, but does it merge with the film is another concern. As the film’s central character is Nipah, it is tough to point out any individual performance as remarkable.
Overall the movie can be called as a well-crafted multi-starrer, fictional documentation based on particularly news reports and digitalmediums on the Nipah virus attack that shocked Kerala and still looms over us and those who lost life tackling it as well.Yet a good movie to watch with the family.