Ela Veezha Poonchira – My Flash Review!

The 1st thing that strikes about this film is the title. Ela Veezha Poonchira means “A Floral Bund without leaves”. Apparently this is a name of a place in Kottayam district of Kerala where the film is mostly set. There is a mythical explanation by way of a casual conversation in the film as to how the place got this name which gains a larger meaning as the plot unravels towards the end of the film. Not just this, for almost 20-30 minutes into the film, you feel that nothing much is happening except for seemingly frivolous events and conversations. But as the film nears the end, you will realise that each and every such frame has a deeper meaning and link to what happens in the film towards the end. In the normal process, I must give a few examples to explain this further but that end up being spoilers. To just state one, I would say even the way the Climax ends the way it does, has a link to an earlier casual reference.

The film opens with the long travel of the main protagonist played by a fine Soubin Shahir to his place of work which is Ela Veezha Poonchira (EVP) where he is stationed as a cop in a police wireless outpost at the top of the hill. During this travel we are given a glimpse of the ordeal of travel and also the nature of the place which is hostile in terms of nature (rain, thunderstorms, lightning strikes). He has for company another cop played by Sudhi Koppa and most of the time their job is to keep an ear on the scratchy wireless messages from nearby police stations and take action/respond if they are relevant to them. So with nothing much to do except for some interventions here and there, their day is spent playing cards, cook, eat , drink, sleep and repeat between random conversations. Even as you wonder why Soubin is shown lighting a cigarette almost 5 times in just 20 minutes of screen time, you get it at the end.

Right from the beginning it is clear that Soubin is disturbed by something but we don’t get a hint of it at all till the end. In the beginning we are also told about a murder that takes place behind which the cops get after. In this murder mystery, who is the murderer, how do they find out and as Soubin in the film says, “What is most important in this case is actually the motive” is rest of the plot. The story is written by two real life cops – Shaaji Maraad and Nidhish, who also were writers of the brilliant cop film – Nayattu and therefore bring a lot of realism in the police procedurals. They shun the heroic drama elements that we have seen in say the CBI series etc… and stick to very basic normal stuff the police do while doing any crime investigation. You will find the film a slow burn in the 1st half but extremely engaging at the same time. By making each and every frame count towards adding meaning to what happens in the end, I would say that this film is a master class on screen play writing.

It is really a pleasant surprise to note that for Director Shahi Kabir, this is his debut film. He has taken an excellent written material and with his making, has elevated it to the point of being fault less. The Director is ably assisted by Mahesh Madhavan the Cinematographer who brings the complex elements in the location beautifully. When you watch the film, you will understand why even the location selection is just brilliant. The action pieces are filmed very naturally and the background score is so non-intrusive that even a scene that is meant to induce a bit of shock, happens very casually. The interval block is one such fantastic sequence.

There are just very few characters in the film. Soubin gets into the skin of the character very well and portrays a very complex role that doesn’t give away much to the viewers. The other cast including Sudhi handle their roles well.

When the film ends, it raises a few morality questions as it has happened in a few Malayalam films of late. There are also few questions that come to the mind on a few conclusions are made at the end. This is a kind of film that requires a second viewing to go back and connect many dots and understand. So, if you are reading this review before watching the film, I would suggest you to pay attention to the minutest details in the first half.

If you like dark crime thriller as a genre, Ela Veezha Poonchira is a must watch just for its brilliant screen play. It is streaming now on Amazon Prime.

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