India churns out thousands of movies every year, peddling the inflated ultra masculine image of the "hero". A majority of those movies subscribe to a certain formula, a tried and tested template that doesn't demand much of a creative infraction from the film makers.
Until some one comes up to say this on their face: "So you have no idea about this, is it?"
The word Bhavana in Malayalam translates to Creative Imagination. That represents ideas.
To trace the thread where the screenplay, with the help of the still camera and phtography as a symbol, talks about art - and the art of film making in particular, let us start from " Bhavana " Vincent. The one who reminds Mahesh that " It is not a shop, but a studio".
In this film, we actually see two other movies also :
One: In the initial scenes when Mahesh is searching for his father, we catch a glimpse of the television in which a song from the iconic movie Yavanika is being played. Yavanika is a movie by the legendary film maker K G George who broke templates that were in vogue in the early 80s by treating his women characters with empathy. And the scene that we get to see clearly displays the word "Bhavana Theatre".
Apart from these, we also visit an actual movie hall along with Crispin and Sonia. But all that we see on screen are the cancer afflicted images. And nothing else.
The rabid masculinity which the movie tries to juxtapose with the characterisation of Mahesh is more pronounced when we look into another thread that weaves through the entire movie.
The song being played in the background during the opening credits apparently is about the beauty and essence of the geography of Idukki and Munnar. But the accompanying images and the suggestive lyrics - with a clever wordplay rhyming Idukki with Midukki (smart girl) - talk about
This is the right moment to discuss the "Butterfly Effect" sequence and analyse its relevance to the overall framework of the movie. Just like fluctuation in global crude oil price having an effect on Mahesh's life, the chain of events starting with the funeral scene finally snowballs onto the village square bringing the entire village as stake holders and equal participants in the fight "and" the revenge. Now, the fight is not just between Mahesh and Jimson alone.
This is accentuated by the character of Vijilesh. He joins the revenge training course as a reaction to another woman being harassed by a group of men.
It gets more interesting when we venture to see where does the "party" stand in this fight? When Mahesh rushes off to take on Jimson, the party rally is heading in a direction opposite to that of Mahesh.
The key to redemption turns out to be another woman: Jimsy.
It also coincides with artist Baby having a perception correction with respect to his daughter.
Eventhough Mahesh's father is addressed as Bhavana Vincent, Mahesh is never referred to with the Bhavana appendage. Not until he clicks the candid image of Jimsy. It is Jimsy who addresses Mahesh as Bhavana Mahesh for the first time. And the name printed in the magazine is Mahesh Bhavana. The transformation is complete.
When Mahesh finds his dad with his camera in the middle of the night in the woods, he asks him if the "birds have flown off". To which Vincent replies: " No, was just checking if the bird has come".
( Kili poyo literally translates to " Have the birds gone? ", but it is a figurative way of speech to imply " have you gone nuts ! " )
A video review of Maheshinte Prathikaaram can be viewed here