Aabhaasam Review: Poking fun at the system or even attempting a well-meaning criticism aren’t some of the easily tolerated acts in this age. Amidst such a state of affairs, newbie director Jubith Namradath and his team dip their hands into the dirty truths about our country, to finger-paint an easily relatable tale, unmasking the ugly truths of a democracy.’ With a promising premise, its dialogues also try some nuanced criticism of all things glorified in the name of morality and ethics as well.
A handful of youngsters, moral-policing middle-aged citizens, a trans-woman, foreigners, religious fanatics… Democracy Travels’ Gandhi bus turns out to be the meeting point of this heterogeneous group, which is God’s Own Country bound. It’s steered by a pornography-addicted driver in his fifties and an equally lustful cleaner accompanies him. They all have their own individual flaws, and some of them a flash of virtues too. Their widely varying views and morality, frustrations, and dreams and the mere thought on how they manage to travel under one ‘roof’ together for so long is the stuff of nightmares. Tolerating each other is the biggest challenge they face and if the already existing friction is any indication, an amicable trip isn’t on cards.
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Parodying many of our prejudices from the rich minefield of societal differences, Aabhasam is a relatable, entertaining watch. What takes lead is the story and there is nothing about it we are unfamiliar with. Then again, the sexual frustration of the society is one of the chiefly depicted issues in the journey. Showing how the modes of handling it vary from person to person, it induces a lot of thought too in the minds of an average viewer. Is there anything that we can ever do to help our brethren break free off the shackles of restraint, stone age moralities and learn to live and let live minding each others’ business? Will the little girls like the ones shown in the movie ever be truly educated, before it’s too late, about the prying hands all around trying to make them another harassment victim?
The cast, consisting of Rima Kallingal, Sheetal Syam, Alencier Ley and Suraj Venjaramoodu play the myriad shades of a cross-section of the society quite well. Suraj, especially, impresses with his portrayal of that ‘typical Malayali man’ with all his vices.
For a trip that’s as eventful as this, the story ambiance at the destination doesn’t really excite much. It lacks a certain punch that such a story could have easily offered. But it’s an honest attempt for sure and does not once try to be another movie that’s easily familiar. Hop on to Democracy Travels if unconventional journeys excite you.
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