India Independent Film Review “Maravi (Lost)”



First, the Recap:

To be overburdened in mind and spirit feels as if the world itself is bearing down on you. When thoughts of deeds, whether past or present, weigh upon our very being, the need for release becomes a force unto itself. The question will then remain–are we willing to do what it takes to let it go? It is a routine evening, with Rajendra (K. Kaladharan) and his daughter Anu (Nina Chakraborty) having casual conversation over a meal in their home, prepared by his wife (Lekshmi). Other than discussing the idea that soon Anu will be leaving to go back to her own life, all seems well. However, the next morning, Anu finds her father went out early and has not returned.

Trying to assure her worried mother all will be well, both her and Anu’s perspectives on his absence begin to meld together. Enlisting the aid of her boyfriend Vinod (Sarath Sabha), Anu heads out to try and locate her missing father, all while taking the opportunity for her and Vinod to reconnect with their own relationship as well. Not finding Rajendra at her uncle’s (Kuttikrishnan Ennakad) as expected, Anu’s worry reaches a fever pitch until finding out he is in a remote village called Thenchola. Reaching him among locals Venu (Gibin G. Nair), Bhasi (Krishnan Balakrishnan), and Hari (Manoj Shiva), Rajendra’s reasons for being there are revealed, all involving a woman named Sarasamma (Stella Raja) and a 25-year old secret coming to light.

Next, my Mind:

There’s an age-old adage that states “Good things come to those who wait”. This can very much be said for the newest independent feature film effort from the writer/director/producer/cinematographer brother duo Satish and Santosh Babusenan. For their 76-minute narrative, which ultimately addresses the notion of how we as human beings tend to bury secrets and the burdens that accompany them rather than seeking release, it takes a certain measure of patience to allow the story to unfold and reach its deeply moving finale involving one man’s life journey of harboring a truth he never chose to disclose when he should have. It’s all a slow burn up to that moment, and some viewers might find themselves not desiring to stay with events leading up to it. But, for this reviewer, a well-done, character-driven story and steady build-up to a worthy conclusion is indie cinema at its best more often than not, and I feel it is worth allowing other characters as well to get their own stories told in the midst of the greater whole, as is executed here. Top this off with some absolutely stunning cinematography that showcases the duo filmmakers’ home State of Kerala, lush and majestic, which adds such an apropos backdrop to the story along with the atmospheric music score from Santhosh K. Thampi.

Kaladharan is a wonderful study in subdued intensity and uncomplicated poise throughout his role as Rajendra, a former cop and now retiree whose loving heart towards his family is unquestionably present. Yet, one can see he is also a man being troubled by something at first we might think is physical in nature, but soon find is very inward and emotionally-driven, leading him to the choice he makes to find peace and resolution. When that time arrives, it is another quietly potent instance that affects all present, and Kaladharan delivers it all with conviction. Likewise, Chakraborty’s performance is endearing and believable as Anu, the doting daughter who treasures her father with everything she has, and whose concern for his well-being is paramount.  Yet, we can perceive she has some of her own inner battles being fought, even if not necessarily explored outwardly here, and just watching the joy she experiences with the time spent on the road with Vinod while searching for Rajendra speaks volumes to this. Chakraborty brings an innocence and beauty to events that fits perfectly for this story and role.The deep connection as a daughter she has with her father is made manifest in the finale to very effective ends, and drives home a turning point about to occur with both of them as they move forward.

Supporting turns arrive via Lekshmi, as a mother and wife simply exuding the worried demeanor expected given the situation, Sabha as Anu’s boyfriend Vinod, who encounters his own reawakening and release while on the road trip with Anu, Ennakad as Anu’s rather eccentric but wise Uncle, Nair as Venu, the Thenchola local Rajendra ends up staying with, Balakrishnan and Shiva as village locals Bhasi and Hari who end up being key factors in Rajendra’s being lead to the goal he’s come for, and Raja as Sarasamma, a village widow whose life gets an unanticipated revelation through Rajendra’s secret. In total, “Maravi (Lost)” speaks to us on that poignant level about the importance of family, the value of introspection, the encumbrance of secrets, the consequences of revealing them, and the subsequent liberation that’s gained.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!


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