Lijo Jose Pellissery's 'Churuli' review: A never-ending spiral abstract
For those who have never experienced general anesthesia, if you want to get a gist of what it would feel like, Churuli can do it to an extent. Churuli takes the viewers on a fantastic ride down a deep, spiral lane of never-ending exploration. After the film finishes, one would need a break to come back to reality. Here's our review.
Why does this film matter?
Directed by Pellissery, who is known for his Mollywood films like Jallikattu and Ee.Ma.Yau, Churuli plays around with the concept of the universe beyond science or perhaps a parallel life. The film's intensity is left to the audience's imagination. You would feel like you got woken up to reality from a scary yet beautiful dream that will linger on your mind throughout the day.
Visuals and background score will take you away from reality
Madhu Neelakandan has cranked the camera. With an eye for things that most of us would miss, one day he might even discover a new color out of the spectrum. Sreerag Saji's ethereal score and Renganaath Ravee's audio works have totally complemented the narrative. Chemban Vinod Jose, Vinay Forrt, and Jaffar Idukki have played pivotal roles, while Soubin Shahir made a cameo appearance.
Film starts with a voice-over along with an animated visual
Churuli starts with a voice-over of a woman narrating a story of a man who thinks he is clever but ends up being fooled and getting lost in the woods. This voice-over goes on with the visual of an animated video and ends with spine-chilling laughter. This pretty much covers what the whole film is all about minus more such fascinating events.
Story follows a cop duo on an undercover operation
The next shot shows two cops, Antony and Shajivan (Jose and Forrt), who are on an undercover operation to nab a notorious criminal. In order to reach the village Churuli, they take the help of locals who seem to be naive. But once a seemingly impossible bridge is crossed, they immediately start abusing the outsiders, i.e., the cops.
Churuli is a mysterious village with things beyond imagination
In order to nab the criminal, the cops mingle with the locals of the village. But the natives are unpredictable. One moment they are extremely friendly and the very next moment, they casually speak about murdering people even for petty matters. However, more than the cops' quest to get the criminals, we get involved with all the mysterious things that happen in the village.
Every frame carries a story of its own
From the beginning, Shajivan keeps saying that the place looks familiar to him, and the locals, too, mention that he looks familiar to them. He discovers so many mysteries in the woods. To note, each and every frame in the film is important. Thankfully, the OTT release on SonyLIV helped me pause, rewind, rewatch any sequence any number of times for a better understanding.
Watch it only when you have ample time to process
Overall, Churuli leaves you hanging with questions in your head. You will also have answers to questions that didn't exist in the first place. It looks like the director wanted to convey so many things with all the rhetoric. But what fascinated me more is his decision to tease us with the idea and leave the rest to our imagination. Verdict: Film bags 4.5/5.