Koimoi Recommends Virus: We all have or to be precise are surviving in the times of a health crisis. Ever imagined how it would look like if the lens is set on a wide-angle and you are behind the camera? Aashiq Abu helmed Virus starring Tovino Thomas, Parvathy and others do that. Today as we are practising social distancing, we recommend the 2019 release Virus (watch it on your own risk, but please watch it!)
Director: Aashiq Abu
Available On: Amazon Prime Video
Language: Malayalam (with subtitles)
Virus is based on the outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala. The film follows a team of courageous health workers who try to find the root cause and curb it.
Based on an epidemic, the tension is instilled in us from the starting frame itself in Virus. Aashiq Abu uses this to his maximum profit. The film is talking about the deadly epidemic, so it takes you directly inside the core of an always busy and buzzing hospital. Stitches, accident cases, paralysed patients, blood spurting, everything is shown in extreme close up, extreme discomfort. And this prepares you perfectly for what you are about to witness.
You cannot tick Virus in one genre. The film talks about an epidemic that caught the world’s attention. But still, it educates its viewers in the simplest way while giving the parallel plots, human stories, aching hearts and breathless shocks.
While all the doctors are busy finding the root cause of the epidemic that haunts the state. There are subplots that shine bright. Be it the nurse who knows she is about to die, so she leaves a letter for her husband to take care of their daughter. Or the husband who stands outside the crematorium just see the black fumes coming out after his wife is cremated because he isn’t allowed to see her one last time. Or a male nurse, who isn’t paid but jumps in quickly to help during a crisis. A scene when he meets his wife and son who have brought clothes for him, and the son tells his dad not the carry the bag from the left strap because it is about to break, shook me.
This is the beauty of this immaculately researched and finely written film. It is telling you about the havoc that Nipah created, the scary symptoms and aftermath of it. But at the same time, it is also explaining the surrounding. Writers Muhsin Parari, Sharfu, Suhas and director Aashiq Abu are not preaching you. Unlike when Bollywood tries making such films, no slides tell you what’s about to happen. Rather characters reveal this intricate and scary details in their conversation with each other. Connecting you to the story and the giving characters a strong touch.
Now the question arises, where does a viewer stand in Virus. The makers quite nicely place you on the confusing end, just like the country was when they were finding solutions on the idiot box then. Just this time, there is no third person account, but the people involved themselves.
Virus is an ode to the healthcare workers including doctors, hospital staff, nurses and even the ones who carried dead corpses to cremate. Aashiq Abu highlights these superheroes and gives them the credit they all deserve.
Talking about the cast, while the world needs to take master classes from Malayalam cinema, it also needs to learn this casting pattern. The film stars almost all the biggest actors from the Malayalam industry. Namely, Parvathy, Tovino Thomas, Sreenath Bhasi, Revathy, Poornima Indrajith, Soubin Shahir, Rima Kalinga, Kunchacko Boban, and Indrajith. But none get to play the hero, actually, there is no hero. Everyone gets a brief part, Soubin has just a cameo and he shines.
This shows the gest of these artists to just work on a project and bring out the best in it. Needless to the positioning of their character. The world, especially Bollywood needs to learn this from the Malayalam cinema.
Watch Virus if you feel COVID-19 is the scariest. We have cinematically dealt with more heinous ones. The Aashiq Abu directorial is a long shot on how an epidemic looks like. An eye-opener for the ones, neglecting the effects and a more aware approach to the ones who want to know more. Koimoi recommends you Virus completely!
Virus Star Rating: 4.5/5 (Four and a half star!)