Vaazhl movie review: A trippy, meditative film on the meaning of
Director Arun Prabhu Purushothaman revisits the absurdity of life in his latest film Vaazal, which is airing on Sony Liv. The film can be considered as an extension of his first feature film Aruvi, where he focused on the meaninglessness of society’s obsession with modern lifestyles, and that social norms are rarely kind and just. In Vaazal, he tries to understand how one can live life as they please.
Vaazal’s protagonist Prakash (Pradeep Anthony) is a man trapped in a void. He belongs to a good family, is well educated and has a good paying software job. he has a girlfriend. She’s a bit clingy and always perse, but she still checks all the boxes when it comes to the traditional definition of things one needs to live a happy and contented life in the 21st century. And yet, he is not happy and feels like he is trapped in some kind of void.
Society has tricked him into believing that he has all the good things in life and nothing to complain about. He doesn’t have the words or the ability to explain the strange feeling of incompleteness swirling in his stomach. He is unable to tell the difference between being alive and living. Days go by as he grapples with this nervous feeling in his stomach. Will a promotion at work make him feel accomplished? Will hanging out with friends make him feel like he’s living his life to the fullest? Will more alcohol help? How about yoga lessons? Will talking help him get rid of the emptiness that follows him everywhere?
Wazel opens with the scene gasping for a breath of light. He has fallen into a deep pit in the mountains. His foot is stuck between two rocks, and he is unable to move. Shouting doesn’t help because no one can hear it. This figurative situation sums up his life.
However, Arun opts for a cheeky and more meditative tone while addressing the puzzle of Prakash’s existence. There are many such moments in the film which leave you stunned. Notably, Prakash’s dilemma with his sister, who is a staunch fan of director Gautham Menon’s Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya. She is in love with a man who looks nothing like Simbu from the movie. He is ready to burst into tears at a moment’s notice and turn any situation into a melodrama. It seems she only wants a love story, one worthy of a celluloid.
And the scenes between Prakash and TJ Bhanu’s character, a married woman with an unruly son, are dark and twisted, yet hilarious. When Bhanu’s character first comes to his house as a ringtone on Prakash’s phone, the song ‘Enoda Rasi Nalla Rasi’, which roughly translates to ‘My fortune is good’, doesn’t help you. can do That’s because we know he’s running out of luck.
Arun has not given any name to Bhanu’s character. We know her either as someone’s daughter, or as wife or mother. It seems that he has no identity of his own. Of all the titles, she is most comfortable being called Yatra Amma, Mother of Yatra. However, this unnamed character holds the power to change Prakash’s life, and takes him on a life-changing journey.
Like Aruvi, Vaazal is a product of individual filmmaking. It’s smart, funny and even hallucinatory. The philosophical themes and existential questions the film deals with are not unheard of. But, the way Arun navigates this familiar realm of spiritual quest with colorful and soothing images with composer Pradeep Kumar’s meditative score, keeps us invested in the narration.