Producer- A.S.Girish Lal
Director- Salam Bappu
Cast- Mohanlal, Fahadh Faasil, Asif Ali, T G Ravi, Saiju Kurup, Meera Nandan, Anushree, Mia George, Maria John, Meghna Raj, JP (Jayaprakash), Suraaj Venjaramoodu etc.
Cinematography :Manoj Pillai
Music – Bijibal
Review By : Unni R Nair (Kerala9.com )
I think Salam Bappu’s debut film ‘Red Wine’ is not at all what it was expected to be, considering the fact that it has in key roles Mohanlal, Fahadh Faasil and Asif Ali. Yes, it’s not what it perhaps was expected to be; it’s much better than what it was generally expected to be.
This is what I felt after seeing ‘Red Wine’. I am sure fans of the lead players may be a bit disappointed. There is nothing in the film for fans to stand up and whistle, cheer and applaud. It’s clearly a cut above such mass movies. (Hey, I don’t have anything against mass movies. I enjoy them with an unprejudiced heart…).
‘Red Wine’ is basically an investigation story. But don’t expect the usual kind of investigation drama and the loudness and pace that you expect from such a film. It’s more of a slow-paced (but definitely not boring or unimpressive!), subtle, complex film that focuses on much more than telling a story or making stars perform for the masses. It’s multi-layered, if you really are bent on analyzing it that way…
Anoop (Fahadh Faasil) acts in a play along with Jasna (Meera Nandan) and then, after the performance, leaves along with his friend Navas (Saiju Kurup). On the way, they find a CD shop and Anoop seeks out a Malayalam movie of the 1980’s, ‘Kakothikaavila Apoopanthadikal’. Then they have a drink each and finally Navas drops Anoop at a hotel, his usual haunt whenever he visits Kozhikode. The next morning Kozhikode wakes up to the news that Anoop is found murdered in his hotel room.
Ratheesh Vasudevan (Mohanlal), the Assistant Commissioner of Police, assisted by another officer Rafi (Sudheer Karamana), takes up the investigation. Anoop is not just an actor. He is a political activist and in his native place, Wyanad, he is one who’s involved in all kinds of public issues and helps all and sundry.
Ramesh (Asif), a young guy who works as a sales executive and who was there watching the play and had left just before it ended, is now on the run. While fleeing the city, he throws a blood stained knife into the river.
Deepti (Mia), Ramesh’ wife, is to be admitted to hospital that day for delivery. Ramesh has gone and so now she has to fend for herself. Sreelekshmi (Anushree), who is Navas’ wife, has had a great friendship with Anoop; she is unable to digest the news. Jasmine (Maria John), with whom Anoop had shared a very romantic kind of intimacy, too is confused about the news, which later shatters her and makes her decide to leave the city.
Anoop meanwhile had chatted, on Facebook, with someone nicknamed ‘Comrade’, just before he was killed. He shares a rapport with this person, whose identity remains a mystery for a long time, for others.
At Wyanad, Anoop had earlier been involved in issues pertaining to a self-financing MedicalCollege and agitations against the setting up of an Ayurvedic Resort. It’s his friend, mentor and father-like figure Narayanan (T G Ravi) and another friend Joe Sebastian (Suraaj Venjaramoodu) who now take things forward…
All this and much more form part of the fabric of the movie ‘Red Wine’, which moves at a slow but steady pace and keeps your interest intact. There are lots of issues addressed and discussed and the most notable thing is that though it’s an investigation drama, we know from the very beginning who the murderer is. It’s the process of investigation that forms the highlight and at the same time it’s a human touch to the investigation story that makes it different. Here the helplessness of the victim and the perpetrator, the murdered and the murderer, set against the backdrop of today’s society, too is part of the film’s theme…
The theme, the treatment, the narrative (which moves back and forth in time) and the pace that makes it seem more realistic than dramatic is what I liked best about ‘Red Wine’. The film, though a multi-starrer, has no stars in it. It’s the characters that we see on screen and we forget that they are stars. Kudos Salam and team, for making such a brilliant film….
Both Mohanlal and Fahadh Faasil have done their parts with conviction. Asif is also good. The ladies, including debutante Maria John, do justice to their respective parts. The others in the cast have all done their parts with total conviction. Well I liked Sudheer Karamana and T G Ravi too. JP (Jayaprakash) doesn’t have much to do.
Manoj Pillai has done a good work of the cinematography. The other technicians too have done full justice to their work.
The background score is perfect; and the songs jell with the whole fabric of the movie. But it seems you won’t be able to recollect songs once you’ve left the theatres. Still it’s not bad…
Script, penned by Mammen K Rajan, based on story by Noufal Blathoor, is one of the highlights of the film. The narrative, moving back and forth in time and looking at it all from different perspectives, is interesting.
Salam handles the direction part like a seasoned director. Well, he has been associated with the likes of Lal Jose and hence knows his work well. So, here’s another talented director, from whom we could expect much more in the years to come…
Verdict– Impressive debut! A well made, subtle movie with impressive performances. Stars disappear, actors come to the fore…theme is the star here