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Veeram: When Macbeth Meets Chanthu

Malayalam movie Veeram review 

 




When Jayaraj took the herculean task to tell Chanthu's story the major challenge before him was Vadakkan Veeragaatha, the magnum opus of MT- Hariharan team. But still, Jayaraj took a chance and tried to give a novel tint to the old saga. Jayaraj’s Chanthu  is a cheat, as it is  presented in Vadakkanpattu (folksongs in the Malabar region which sing about the Kalari warriors). It was indeed a great thought to compare the story of Chanthu and to Shakespeare's epic play Macbeth. But this attempt levied huge responsibilities and a few limitations upon the director. 


The use of Malabar slang is the cynosure of Veeram. The dubbing artists did a commendable job in this regard. The costumes and visual richness also add to the glory of the movie. Scenes of the love making, the sight of well-built warriors who remind us of the Hollywood movie 300, ravishing women like Kuttimaani aesthetically enrich the movie. 
Despite all these strong points, Veeram still has a lot of chinks in its armour. It gave too much focus on visual beauty, technical perfection and costumes and make ups at the cost of presenting the core of the characters and their transformations in a convincing way. Jayaraj clearly did not work on the script to unleash its possibilities and to build the story and characters with ample stuff. 
Though he tried to inject Macbeth into Chanthu and it didn't work well. Most of the performances including that of the lead actor Kunal Kapur, who enacted Chanthu, are not up to the mark. Veeram boasts about Kalarippayattu, Kerala's own martial art, but, fails to visualise it effectively. Since Keralites have an evergreen classic to compare, Jayaraj could've approached the plot with more focus. Even the BGM which was long-listed for Oscars is not able to enliven the drama on screen. 
The costumes, make up and background and the slang​ in the movie are not at all synced. And it gives the feel of a usual dubbed movie which just speaks in our tongue but tells the story of some other places. The director might have used it intentionally to give a varied perspective to the run off the mill ideas and prejudices of the viewers. In that sense the movie tries to aesthetically deconstruct the historical aspect and facts. 

In short, Veeram lacks a perfect sync and focus which were vital for such a classic idea.

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