Cast: Revathy, Rima Kallingal, Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban
Director: Aashiq Abu
Before it goes around capturing the finer details of a deadly epidemic outbreak, its roots and subsequent trauma, Virus, a multi-starrer Malayalam movie opens to the sights and scenes of a beehive-like Government Medical College hospital, having a diligent medical wing at work without any break. That was where it all happened over a month’s time in 2018, when the first Nipah suspect was confirmed.
Unfortunately, by the time Virus has hit the screens, the state of Kerala is facing a similar situation. Going by the updates, in a less virulent second coming, Nipah is probably as deadly as before.
There is no point asking ‘what is the story’, for this is neither a make-belief fiction nor a tweaked real-life tale tailor-made for commercial viability. Whatever is seen here has been there. We have seen it, heard it and taken it to heart. Thanks to the screenwriter, a multitude of actors to the team of technicians, the film has reconstructed everything to perfection.
What begins as a small problem around a lesser-known, small town of Perambra in Kozhikode district soon grips its tentacles around a state, its administrative mechanism, and one large medical governance mechanism of a country as big as India. A mysterious zoonotic disease makes its way with no defined vaccination and no treatment protocol.
The affected move into quarantine, where they battle it out either to give up or survive. The dear ones of the victims are at the bitter end of a social boycott, their lives are thrown haywire. Virus traces all things that scared the hell out of every Kerala citizen after the first Nipah outbreak in 2018.
However, it looks like the much debated and mysterious origin of Nipah keeps the makers and health experts equally baffled even now. From a suspected terrorist weapon to a targeted attack of the pharmaceutical mafia, Virus draws an open-ended conclusion on fruit bats.
A multi-star cast has been the highlight of the Aashiq Abu directorial ever since its announcement. To script a movie with so many lead players in the industry is no cakewalk, thanks to screenwriter Muhsin Parari, an adept storyteller with a track record of etching realistic stories for the silver screen.
Be it nurse Lini (Rima Kallingal), the health minister (Revathy), district collector (Tovino Thomas), the virology expert (Kunchacko Boban), health officer (Indrajith), director of health services (Poornima Indrajith), data collector (Parvathy Thiruvothu), the sanitation manager (Joju George), doctor (Sreenath Bhasi), major victims (Soubin Shahir, Madonna, Asif Ali), no character seems subdued, larger than life or overstepping the boundaries. The message has been driven home in the most effective manner possible.
For its 152-minute duration, Virus will take you through many emotional roller-coasters. This one is contagious enough to make you skip a heartbeat or evoking tears. It’s more than just a film, it’s humans joining hands to beat a deadly disease.
No reason to not watch this one.
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