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Live Movie Review: A shoddily done critique on new-age journalism- Cinema express

Live Movie Review: A shoddily done critique on new-age journalism

Shine Tom Chacko's lively act is the only saving grace in this well-intentioned but ineffective film

Published: 26th May 2023

Enough has been said about the standards of journalism, with certain news organisations focusing more on shooting up their TRPs and website impressions rather than sharing relevant information and more importantly, fact-checking them. VK Prakash's latest film is a critique of the same. It has some strange similarities to Naradan, which also trained its lens on media sensationalism. However, akin to the Aashiq Abu film, Live also resorts to an exaggerated portrayal of the new-age media and fails to get into the nuances. The end result is a well-intentioned but ineffective film that hardly has any novelty.

Cast: Mamta Mohandas, Shine Tom Chacko, Soubin Shahir, Priya Varrier

Director: VK Prakash

The narrative is woven around two women—Amala Sriram (Mamta Mohandas) and Anna Chirayath (Priya Prakash Varrier). Amala, a paediatrician, is a mentor of sorts to Anna, an aspiring medical student. Apart from being a successful doctor, Amala is also active on social media, thereby tormented by obscene messages from strangers. However, even her husband, Sriram (Soubin), shuns her issues by saying she 'enjoys' such comments. Sriram can be seen as the representation of the people who victim-blame the women, who come forward with such pertinent complaints of abuse.

When Anna is falsely arrested and subjected to media trials, Amala leads the fight for the young girl's justice. The fight is primarily against Sam John Vakathanam (Shine Tom Chacko), the editor-in-chief of Mandaram, a leading news organisation that is all about sensationalising content. Sam, an expert in peddling such click-bait stories, spins a malicious report on Anna's arrest that eventually triggers a media hunt.

S Suresh Babu's inconsistent script fails to seamlessly transition between these two women's stories. After a rather tepid first hour, things get a tad interesting after Shine Tom enters the scene. The actor, who has often been criticised for his repetitive and over-the-top performances, makes the quirkiness work in this film as his character has a slightly eccentric side. I'm not sure if that eccentric shade was an extra touch added by Shine, because that has been his forte lately. 

With a ranging conflict in hand, the film takes a strange turn to Sam's past, his early days in Mandaram and his eventual rise to the top. Sam's hunger for 'creating news' and Shine Tom's freakish act are certain to remind us of Nightcrawler and Jake Gyllenhaal. Perhaps, the makers should seriously deliberate on a spin-off of Sam, covering his rise from a jeep driver to how he slyly made his way up.

When director VK Prakash and Suresh Babu last teamed up for Oruthee, they were armed with a compelling and racy story that had the potential to interest the viewer till the end. In Live, there's a clear dearth of regular high moments, which makes it an exhausting watch. The high moments need not always be about the hero winning; it can also be the antagonist outwitting others or an unexpected jolt that can move the viewer emotionally. Unfortunately, Live's bland and predictable narrative hardly has a rousing moment. The climax, if intended as one, is a huge letdown. 

VK Prakash, known for helming powerful socially relevant films like Nirnayakam, fails to keep things subtle in Live. He instead opts for a news story-like treatment. Every little emotion in the film is exaggerated with dramatic performances and annoyingly loud music... just like the news channels he decides to critique. Never become the person you hate, I guess.  

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