Vismayam (means Amazement), a film by Chandra Sekhar Yeleti, tries a different formula of story-telling. The film is made in Malayalam and Telugu (Manamantha) and dubbed in Tamil too (Namadhu). This film witnesses the teaming up of Mohanlal and Gautami after a gap of 19 years. Gautami herself is returning to Malayalam cinema after a gap of 14 years. If you expect to watch Mohanlal-Gautami repeat their chemistry of ‘His Highness Abdula’ in this film, you will be disappointed. The film brings to us four different stories of four different individuals interspersed. But somehow, the interconnect between the stories are not established. The stories move in isolation. A few scenes are illogical.
There is indeed feel-good factor in the film, since four characters do learn some lessons for their lives or explore life better or exercise humanity through unexpected happenings or surprise events or events taking a different turn than expected or miraculous escape from worse situations. The linkages between four stories are established towards the end of the film, but throughout the film, the stories run parallel.
The film begins with a song introducing us four main characters. Sairam (Mohanlal) is an Assistant Manager in a superstore Vijetha. He seems to have tough time making both ends meet. There is a girl (may be 8-9 years old) Mahita (Raina Rao), who is shown to go out of the way to help even the strangers. Another character is that of Gayathri (Gautami), a housewife, a doting wife and mother, managing house with a tight budget. Then, there is a teenager Abhiram (Viswant Duddumpudi), an engineering student, brilliant and focused on studies. Abhiram’s affection towards his parents is shown when he denies to sell his old laptop given to him by his parents to get a new one.
Lakshmi (Urvashi) is the neighbour of Gayathri, who is in saree business and shopaholic too. She does bring humour to the plot with her presence.
The major four stories move ahead.
Sairam, debt-ridden, aspires to become the Manager of the store, and his biggest threat is his colleague and another assistant manager Vishwas. How does Sairam beat this competition? Is he able to become the next Manager of the shop? If yes, how and at what cost?
Mahita helps a slum boy Veer Shankar and befriends him, but some mishap happens with him. What happens to Veer? How does Mahita deal with that? What she does ?
The brilliant focused Abhi, who is shown to be selflessly helping fellow students to learn, without expecting any favours, when falls in love with Aira (Anisha Ambrose), what happens. Aira is aspiring to study abroad, seems to be from an affluent family. Does she reciprocate love to Abhi ? Does their friendship grow into love ? What changes happen to Abhi ?
Gayathri, facing the challenges of tight budget to run the house, miraculously and coincidently happens to meet her professor, who she had helped during college days. He gives an open offer to Gayathri, which in a way would help Gayathri and her family. What was that offer? Does Gayathri accept that offer which could change the course of her and her families’ lives ?
Cast: Mohanlal (Sairam), Gautami (Gayathri), Viswant Duddumpudi (Abhiram), Raina Rao (Mahita), Naresh, Urvashi (Lakshmi), Anisha Ambrose (Aira), P Balachandran, Vennela Kishore, Nassar
Directed by: Chandra Sekhar Yeleti
Screenplay: Chandra Sekhar Yeleti, Siby Jose Chalissery (Dialogues)
Produced by: Sai Korrapati
Music by: Mahesh Shankar
Cinematography: Rahul Shrivastava
Edited by: GV Chandra Shekhar
Production Company: Varahi Chalana Chitram
Distributed by: Maxlab Cinemas and Entertainments
Release date: 5th August, 2016
Duration: 2 hour 26 minutes
So, this is how four parallel stories run, and get connected to each other only during the last scene of the film. Except that of story of Sairam’s character, rest of the stories are not developed properly. One keeps guessing, whether Abhi stays at home or college hostel ? Gayathri is shown to be a very positive optimistic lady but the very next moment, she is shown to be sad with the ‘not-haves’ of her life. Mahita, always having a smile on her face, is shown to be taking bold steps without much help, how?
Gautami, a terrific actress, isn’t having a strong script to support her acting.
There are some good messages in the film. We have to pay for our actions. Karma goes around and comes back to us.
But a major question remains. If the unforeseen, unpredictable or miracles do not happen, how to handle the consequences of our actions, choices ?
Vismayam is just a decent watch with some feel-good factors, but it actually lacks any ‘Vismayam’ and never takes off. A script with great potential but it goes awry.
Rating : 2.75 / 5 (Above Average)