'Swakaryam Sambhava Bahulam' movie review: A dismal experience trivialising women’s woes

The film, presumably intended as an empathetic exploration of violence against women, never really takes off due to Naseer Badarudeen’s outdated direction and unimaginative writing.
First look poster of Swakaryam Sambhava Bahulam (SSB)
First look poster of Swakaryam Sambhava Bahulam (SSB)

Swakaryam Sambhava Bahulam (SSB) begins with a conventional montage, accompanied by a pleasant score, exploring the early morning scenes of a Thiruvananthapuram awakening to the day’s bustle. We are soon introduced to two police officers on their way to Raveendran’s (Jeo Baby) house to gather details about his missing son-in-law, Pushparajan (Sajin Cherukayil). Upon arrival, they find Raveendran, also known as Ravi, a middle-aged man with lower middle-class traits, casually burying something in his backyard.

When questioned, Ravi nonchalantly says he has no idea about the whereabouts of his drunkard and troublesome son-in-law who has consistently neglected his daughter. The officers leave, still suspicious about what Ravi is burying — a lazy callback to Drishyam (2013). Ravi assures them it is merely a deceased dog. This uneventful scene is replayed in its entirety with no change in perspective as the film reaches its intermission. This is just one example of the mind-numbing redundancy in this film that hardly knows what to do with it.

The film, presumably intended as an empathetic exploration of violence against women, never really takes off due to Naseer Badarudeen’s outdated direction and unimaginative writing. For a narrative that aims to be compassionate towards its female characters, it is quite ironic that the film is marked by an unmistakable male gaze and saviour complex throughout.

Like many such films, SSB also trivialises the trauma of its victims to a great extent by turning the centre of attention to the male protagonist’s quest for vengeance, denying its women agency. Adding to the woes, the dialogues often sound as if the actors are reciting their lines by heart, devoid of any emotion.

By placing the protagonist as an employee in a mental health institution, the film attempts to explore sensitive issues related to the psychological well-being of lonely individuals, albeit without focus. A potentially charming romance between Ravi and Ambili (Minnal Murali-fame Shelly), a ward sister at the hospital, is undermined by the film’s aimless approach to addressing social issues affecting the elderly.

SSB also has its share of moments that make you squirm. The scenes featuring Sajin Cherukayil and Sudheer Paravoor, intended as comic relief, fail to evoke laughter. A high school romance falls flat with its silly exchanges that wouldn’t have worked even in a film from the ’90s. The film also includes a couple of unintentionally funny callbacks to Drishyam where it guises into an emotional thriller, with Jeo Baby at the centre instead of Mohanlal, like a spoof.

Overall, with its overused tropes that amount to much ado about nothing and lacklustre performances, SSB is a dismal experience.

Film: Swakaryam Sambhava Bahulam

Cast: Jeo Baby, Shelly, Annu Antony, Sajin Cherukayil

Director: Naseer Badarudeen

Rating : 1/5 star

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com