'Trance', starring the versatile Mollywood actor Fahadh Faasil in a complex role, has got a Telugu dubbed version. The film is now premiering on Aha. A critically-acclaimed psychological drama, the original version had arrived at the cinemas in February this year. It's but natural to watch such acclaimed movies with high expectations. Does the film live up to the hype? Here we tell you in our review.
Viju Prasad (Fahadh Faasil) is seemingly timid, has no resources, he comes with a broken past and an unhappy present. But he sees a big dream. He wants to become huge enough to deliver a speech to an auditorium that is full of hyper-curious listeners. A low-paid motivational speaker in a town in Andhra Pradesh, he moves to Mumbai chasing an unrealistic dream after a personal tragedy.
He chances upon two dangerous businessmen (director Gautham Menon and Chemban Vinod), who entice him into taking up religious preaching. Viju is now Pastor Joshua Carlton, one of the most popular and richest miracle healers minting money for his backers.
All hell seems to break loose when he gives an interview to TV journalist Matthews, a seemingly fearless journalist. What happens in the course of that game-changing interview? How do he and his handlers plan to save themselves? Can Viju alias Joshua have redemption? Answers to these questions are found in the second half.
It's not for nothing that Fahadh Faasil is regarded as one of the best actors. His performance in 'Mashinthe Prathikaram', for example, is regarded as one of the most durable ones. In 'Trance', he literally saves one too many scenes. When he stares at the darkness, he is superb. When he enjoys the cheers of thousands, he is equally brilliant.
Dileesh Pothan exudes menace and is totally a delight to watch. After 'Kanulu Kanulanu Dochayante', Gautham Menon proves to be an enjoyable villain. Nazriya Nazim looks beautiful. All the other actors do a nice job.
Sushin Shyam and Jackson Vijayan's BGM stays true to the genre. For a drama like this, the sound and vibe had to be different. A generic BGM would have been ill-fitting. Amal Neerad's cinematography becomes a character in many scenes, although it's found wanting in many portions in the second half.
The characterization of the male lead
The element of eccentricity doesn't look forced. It's organic to the lead character
Projection of corporate villainy
Bold depiction of religious scams in the name of miracle-healing
Understanding the psyche of the main characters
The second half is not gripping.
The length (167 minutes) is too long-drawn.
The meteoric rise of the hero as a Pastor should have been told in a more convincing way.
The characters can look quite stupid at times. For example, why would anybody drug a journalist for merely asking inconvenient questions? An interview can make a politician or a businessman look stupid, but no interview is known to have made a religious preacher look like a criminal.
Straightforward dialogues should have been avoided in some places. Like in that scene where the villains describe religion as a drug that feeds the emotions of people.
Nazriya's character adds to the drag.
'Trance' tries to be a heady cocktail of a psychological drama meeting the world of religious hysteria and corporate gangsterism. Like many Malayalam films, this one doesn't exploit its full potential.
Director Anwar Rasheed deserves full marks for courageously depicting the scandal called miracle-healing. Without hurting religious sentiments, the film also subtly hints that God is divine but he has been turned into a business machine by ugly men.