Innovative and quirky: A really good watch for people who love fantasy and magical realism in movies even with its flaws!!
What if the dead are among us, the living? What if they can see us? What if this world belongs to them as well? These questions may sound highly philosophical, but Iblis takes us to such a fantasy world where the dead are among the living and they don’t seem to be having any of the tensions and conflicts of their counterparts.
The movie is narrated through Vishakhan, a daft young man in the village and is about his quest to win the heart of beautiful Fida with the help of his Grand father. Iblis is set in a village which in the first instance can seem to be a scenic wonderland with spectacular visuals and all the natives in colourful costumes. But it is ill-fated with sudden demises of so many natives. As the story progresses we learn that dead are co-existing with the living in the village and can see the living and even capture their tastes when they eat.
The script takes a little more time than it should have to start moving, and takes time to make sense. But once we enter into the narrative, it captures our attention with its fable-like storytelling. Funny instances are sprayed all around the narrative and a few references humorously connect to the real life, like how old people are able to talk to the dead, and how fear makes you able to see the dead. The dead will not able to move out of the village if someone thinks about them constantly, an idea borrowed from Pixar’s Coco ; the writer has shown this with one of the most hilarious scenes of the movie which shows a king being released when a 300 year old statue is broken. He was not able to move out for 300 years as the people were always thinking about him whenever they saw his statue. Aju Varghese as the king comes in just for this single scene and makes it really a rib-tickling one. The writer has given space for satire too and it often mocks the the ways of the living world and their fake emotions.
Writer-Director Rohith VS once again comes up with a unique idea after ‘Adventures of Omanakkuttan’. He has improved on his storytelling here compared to Omanakkuttan. But as mentioned earlier, he could have made the initial few minutes of the movie more delightful. The visuals and the art direction were spectacular and take us to a magical world. The use of dying art forms like puppetry contributes well to the imagery. The background score and music by Dawn Vincent were beautifully synced to the narrative. Asif Ali delivers an ok performance as Vyshakhan, but his narration lacked a little bit of zest which is required for captivating our attention. Madonna Sebastian is ravishing and looked like a real fantasy heroine though her performance was not up to it. Lal was at his usual outstanding self as Vyshakhan’s Grand father Sreedharan.
Iblis is strictly for people who love fantasy and magical realism in movies. Even though the initial few minutes lacked the charm, it turns out to be a good watch as the movie goes on. The idea and design are unique and that is what works for the movie and it ends by asking a well thought-out question directed towards the living.
Language : Malayalam