Vivekanandan Viralaanu Movie Review: A partly well-intentioned, shoddily executed drama 

Vivekanandan Viralaanu Movie Review: A partly well-intentioned, shoddily executed drama 

Rating:(2 / 5)

In Vivekanandan Viralaanu, his 100th film, Shine Tom Chacko gets a special title card and a new moniker—Shining Star. While most actors resort to image-boosting with their milestone films, Shine decides to play a perverted sex maniac. It's a bold choice because the film never justifies his actions or tries to find the reason behind his perverted nature. It, instead, intends to expose such people and empower women to raise their voices. But is it enough?

Cast: Shine Tom Chacko, Swasika, Grace Antony, Mareena Michael
Director: Kamal

Vivekanandan is a seemingly ordinary government employee leading a peaceful married life. He doesn't drink, smoke, eat food from outside, or even take allopathic medicine. But beneath all this 'normalcy' is a beast waiting to pounce. Driven strongly by misconceptions about sexual life, he derives pleasure from inflicting pain and believing it's his right to overpower his partner in bed. "Aavshyamulapo pidichu vangunnathaan aanatham," he says. Vivekanandan is also a victim of societal expectations. Since he doesn't drive a bike, whenever he rides a pillion with his wife, his masculinity is questioned. The continuous taunting hurts his fragile male ego and he sells the bike without asking his wife. Often known for his eccentricities and over-the-top portrayals, Shine Tom Chacko is at ease playing the character. He successfully conveys a sense of creepiness every time he approaches a woman.

Caught with Vivekanandan, are two women, Saritha (Swasika), his wife, and Saritha (Grace Antony), his live-in partner in Kochi. Unaware of his double life in Kochi, Saritha blindly believes him to be a good husband who is just weird in bed. Diana, however, is aware that he is exploiting her weaknesses—bedridden mother, and financial burdens—and decides to put an end to it.  

Though the film tries to convey the important message of 'My body, my right', it starts stumbling when the women choose a strange route to escape from the clutches of Vivekanandan. Since they believe the existing legal system won't help them, they decide to expose him with the help of a YouTuber friend. It's implausible how director Kamal, who also wrote the film, even thought of addressing such a sensitive issue through social media.

The film takes a satirical turn after Vivekanandan gets tied and locked up, while the women go live on social media. The whole situation turns into a mockery with the cops made mere spectators... because it's a "sensitive issue". Kamal also takes a jibe at the men's activists with a mention of how a flashing-case accused was felicitated by them. We also see how the victimised women are slut shamed on social media. However, none of these come together to form a cohesive narrative. Moreover, the scenes are staged akin to a budget television comedy. It's already clear that the video has gone viral, so why stress on it repeatedly with countless shots of people checking their phones?

Kamal, who is making a comeback after a brief hiatus, has chosen a relevant subject but some of the narrative choices are strange, dated, and his views, regressive. In a crucial cameo towards the end, Manju Pillai appears as a sex worker, who preaches on bodily autonomy. But she eventually ends up victim-blaming the women for enabling Vivekanandan's cruelty. Strangely, the women also immediately agree and realise their 'mistake' because according to them, there is no better feminist than her.

The film ends with an epilogue by Balachandran Chullikkad, in which it is stated that people like Vivekanandan, even if they are mentally affected or have criminal tendencies, are not necessary for society. It's unfortunate that the film never puts forward solutions like proper counselling and the importance of spreading sexual health awareness.

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