Directed by actor Vishnu Raghav and starring Keerthy Suresh and Tovino Thomas as advocates, ‘Vaashi’ is solidly put together and has some beautiful performances.
vaashi doesn’t drag, lingers too much in the side stories, but gets straight to the point. The film, like the courtroom in which it usually takes place, has a lot to tell in a short time. Keerthy Suresh and Tovino Thomas, who play advocates, make it an interesting affair. It’s not entirely a new theme: partners in life must duel in court. But the pace of the film and its handling by Vishnu Raghav, an actor directing his first feature film, is to be appreciated.
The introductions happen soon enough – Tovino as Ebin Mathew, a struggling lawyer with no office, Keerthy Suresh as Madhavi Mohan, a junior lawyer who is not taken seriously, and Baiju, in a great performance, mentoring them both. Except for a little delay in the camera showing their faces, the main characters enter the story without fuss, letting their personalities come through in their reactions and short outbursts. You realize that Madhavi is the more serious one, quite focused on her work, little smiling and very expressive about women’s rights. Keerthy is great here, subtlety seems to be her strongest point. Ebin is more casual, taking things lightly, but selfish enough when it comes to work – a role almost tailor-made for Tovino.
From the title – which means stubbornness – you can guess where the story is going. A case arises and Ebin and Madhavi fight each other in court, one taking the side of the petitioner and the other of the defence. Before that we get to know both of their families, songs (music by Kailas Menon) cleverly used to keep the story moving. There are no awkward scenes or specially created moments for the couple to express their feelings. It is allowed to come out in the flow of things, when a funny tactic of Ebin to get to know Madhavi’s mind collapses.
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Madhavi increasingly comes across as the career-oriented person, not quite ready for the speed at which their relationship quickly turns into marriage and the families get involved. Ebin, who has become a prosecutor with the help of his brother-in-law (Rony David, in form), remains easygoing but tries to keep the family and everyone in the picture happy. So the wedding takes place, even if the case that brought them to court on either side is going on vigorously. Surely you wonder why they would go through with the wedding when they are so obviously at each other’s throats and making personal jokes in court. Despite Ebin’s constant insistence on keeping professional and personal strictly separate, the disputes in court clearly seep into their lives.
The script, perhaps intentionally, places Madhavi, who has always been vocal about women’s rights, on the side of the accused in a rape case, under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code. Anu Mohan appears as Madhavi’s client, accused of having sex with a woman after he made her believe they were getting married. Ebin, who had once spoken of “poor men wrongfully tied up in business,” becomes the woman’s lawyer. It may be a trick to show you how professional they both are, going against their beliefs while fighting a case. Or else how competitive they are, wanting to win more than anything from the other.
While the court scenes and intermittent face-to-face exchanges are appropriately placed, they don’t connect enough with you to root for one of the lawyers, or much to give the outcome. The script, while well paced, lacks the depth to hold you like court thrillers can. To be honest, it’s more of a relationship drama than a thriller. Even in that case, the relationship and the quick marriage, where one of them isn’t even ready, seems rather rushed and unconvincing. It works as an interesting idea, well paced, script with no drama, and interspersed with some nice performances.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone involved in the series/movie. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organization has with producers or other cast or crew members.