If intentions were a barometer for how good a movie is, V. K. Prakash’s Live would rank high up there, for it is clearly a work that arises out of concern for the way a section of the mainstream media and numerous YouTube-based channels are weaponising fake news to rake in revenue. It is a valid concern, and the intensity with which scriptwriter S. Sureshbabu and the director feels it is evident, but on-screen it often translates into a rather loud melodrama.
Anna (Priya Prakash Varrier), a student who dreams of becoming a doctor, is mistakenly detained during a raid and let off. However, Sam John Vakkathanam (Shine Tom Chacko), the editor of a major media house, decides to dig up her background and goes to town with a fake news around the incident, bringing more misery to the traumatised woman. Standing with Anna all through is Amala (Mamta Mohandas), a doctor, who is also coping with online stalking.
Director V. K. Prakash
Cast: Mamta Mohandas, Priya Prakash Varrier, Shine Tom Chacko, Soubin Shahir
Runtime: 124 minutes
Storyline: A young woman, mistakenly detained during a raid, becomes a victim of fake news. A doctor, who is facing cyber harassment, stands with her in the fight against the media house responsible for the fake news
Much of the script revolves around the fate that befalls Anna and how those close to her fights back to set things right. But after the initial shock of what happens to her, there is nothing more written into it to sustain the story beyond that. Later, as if to sustain the narrative, we get a run through of Sam’s growth from newspaper delivery man to the editor, but it has just as much effect as a run-of-the-mill flashback sequence would have.
Soubin, who plays doctor Amala’s husband, gets a sketchily-written character. He is shown to be a high flying businessman who really doesn’t have much time for her, and looks at her activist side with contempt. But even if this character were to be removed from the script, it would not have made much of a difference to the movie. Probably realising this late, the scriptwriter has actually given him a few things to do in the epilogue, by which time everything is already done and dusted.
The dialogues are rather sloppily written, and often appear over-dramatic. Hardly any scene exists in the movie without a background score meant to cue us what we are supposed to feel, if the direct dialogues weren’t enough. Songs also pop up at the most inopportune moments. The only creditable thing amid all this is that the movie places it on the side of the victim all through. But, Priya gets to speak only a few lines, which is made up for by Shine Tom Chacko, who yet again delivers partly indecipherable lines as he does in his infamous interviews.
The makers of Live seem to have given much thought on the subject they are dealing with, but not much on how they would portray it on-screen. It thus ends up as a weak take on a relevant issue.
Live is currently running in theatres