Life story

A real-life story that doesn’t quite connect

Story: The story is based on actual incidents of the demolition of ‘illegally built’ Maradu apartments

Review: Vidhi: The Verdict, which was previously titled Marad 357, is based on the demolition of the four waterfront apartments in Maradu in January 2020, based on a Supreme Court verdict.

The film weaves itself into two stories; Besides the real-life apartment demolition, there is a history of killings in the Wayanad tribal settlement and police atrocities. Protagonists Bharath (Anoop Menon) and Maniyan (Dharmajan Bolgatty) have escaped police atrocities in the settlement and managed to get jobs as a water supplier and security guard respectively. Bharath, who was in Wayanad as a forest researcher, is also a vigilante fighting against corruption in society. The film opens with a couple of policemen, searching the settlement near the apartment for Maniyan.

Residents of the apartment include Sheelu Abraham, who plays a tough but kind-hearted secretary in flat society, Manoj K Jayan, Biju, Senthil, and Nooren Shereef. As the Supreme Court’s verdict for the demolition of the apartment is delivered, the film focuses on the residents’ struggle for justice, the losses they face, their financial and emotional trauma, and the corruption among authorities and builders and emotions are well captured.

Kannan Thamarakulam knits the story well, telling of the corruption in the Adivasi colony and in Kochi and the sufferings of the common man. Anoop Menon is good in his action hero role. Dharmajan did a good job in her role, a change from her usual comedy. The other actors, Sheelu, Manoj K Jayan and Senthil are doing well, while Nooren was like a cool breeze. Harish Kanaran’s cameo grabs attention as always.

Sanand George’s music sticks to the story and is soothing. Ravi Chandran’s cinematography is a feast for your eyes, whether it’s the backwaters of Kochi or the rural landscape of Wayanad. Dinesh Pallath’s script doesn’t give you any new dimension and doesn’t really connect with the audience, until the second half.

It’s interesting to see how an actual story unfolds on screen, but it doesn’t really involve you emotionally. You might miss it.

-V Vinod Nair

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