×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bhavum: Emotions of Being

"Bhavum: Emotions of Being" aims high in its attempt to marry traditional Malayalam cinema with contempo social issues for intermittently potent results. Drama is conversant with local politics and cutting-edge national topics, although Menon has been based in Chicago for years. A probable mid-level B.O. success with regional auds.

With:
Subhadra - Mita Vasisht Joy - Murali Menon Lata - Jyothirmayee Matthew - Siddique Kochamma - K. Leela Chitra - Parvathi Shyam - Irshad

Despite rough-hewn elements and devices, Satish Menon’s first feature, “Bhavum: Emotions of Being,” aims high in its attempt to marry traditional Malayalam cinema — with its strong literary roots — with contempo social issues for intermittently potent results. Winner of top awards among this year’s entries in competitions in the southwest Indian state of Kerala, the drama is conversant with local politics and cutting-edge national topics, although Menon has been based in Chicago for years. A probable mid-level B.O. success with regional audiences, “Bhavum” may be tapped in the West by scrappy fests.

While critics and Menon himself have already noted his tale’s ties to “A Streetcar Named Desire,” there is just as much of a link to Ibsen’s dramas of private and political angst, from the portrait of an imploding marriage to a sub-plot involving poisoned public water sources. And like the typical Ibsen couple, university literature professor Lata (Jyothirmayee) and her newspaper-editor husband Joy (Murali Menon) are introduced as a happy pair, living an upwardly mobile lifestyle in the coastal Kerala town of Cochin. To compound the uptempo mood, Lata is four months’ pregnant.

Bliss proves fleeting when Lata’s older sister, Subhadra (Mita Vasisht), unexpectedly enters their lives. Vasisht comes on screen full of shifty glances and thick stares, rather crudely telegraphing that no good is going to result from Subhadra’s presence.

Outside their home, Joy and Lata work in very different worlds, which Menon suggests may be the deeper cause for their eventual alienation. While Lata is futilely trying to make her students think about the ethical meaning of Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” (with an emphasis on the notion of guilt), Joy is seduced more and more by consumer products as he’s sucked into the corrupt politics (and advertisers) that drive his newspaper’s editorial content.

In Menon’s fairly schematic and ambitious script, Joy faces two dilemmas: his reluctant attraction to the beautiful but demure Subhadra, and his anger that the water company backed by his newspaper caused an environmental disaster in Kerala. Though the politics are laid on polemically and Menon appears to be struggling not to overact, this portrait of a middle-class man caught in his own multi-layered ethical drama raises “Bhavum” a few notches above the standard Indian drama.

Vasisht’s Subhadra is on the run because she is a suspect in the killing of her abusive husband, but she never becomes the sympathic character it appears she was intended to be. Jyothirmayee, however, evokes Lata’s increasing consternation as her tidy world collapses.

Camera doggedly remains at shoulder-height throughout, and a visual plainness is the rule of the day. Cutting and tech elements are a bit rough.

Bhavum: Emotions of Being

India

Production: A Visual Possibility presentation in association with the Kerala State Film Development Corp. (International sales: Visual Possibility, Chicago.) Produced by Satish Menon. Executive producers, Vijayan Peringode, K.N. Menon. Directed, written by Satish Menon.

Crew: Camera (Prasad Laboratories color), Sunny Joseph; editor, B. Ajith Kumar; music, Isaac Thomas, Kuttukapally; production designer, Shaji Raghavan; costume designer, Aziz Palakkad; sound, Rajmohan; sound designers, Krishna Kumar, Raj Marthandam; supervising sound editors, T. Krishnan Unni , N. Harikumar; assistant directors, P.M. Sukumaran, M. Sunil Kumari. Reviewed on videotape, L.A., May 28, 2003. (In Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.) Running time: 111 MIN. (Malayalam, English dialogue)

With: Subhadra - Mita Vasisht Joy - Murali Menon Lata - Jyothirmayee Matthew - Siddique Kochamma - K. Leela Chitra - Parvathi Shyam - Irshad

More Film

  • Berlin Film 'The Ground Beneath My

    Berlin Competition Film 'The Ground Beneath My Feet' Sold to Germany's Salzgeber (EXCLUSIVE)

    Salzgeber has acquired the German rights for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” from sales agent Picture Tree International. Variety has been given exclusive access to the film’s trailer. Salzgeber will release the film, directed by Marie Kreutzer, mid-May. Picture Tree describes the movie as a “contemporary female-led drama touching on [...]

  • Donald Glover'Atlanta' TV show premiere, Arrivals,

    Childish Gambino Surprises Beverly Hills Crowd With Reimagined 'Redbone'

    Donald Glover made an unexpected appearance at Film Independent’s “An Evening With…” series tonight (Jan. 15), held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and presented by the HFPA. Joining “Black Panther” composer and Childish Gambino collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who was the subject of a Q&A conducted by “The Treatment” host Elvis [...]

  • 76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS --

    Film News Roundup: Glenn Close Selected for Oscar Wilde Award

    In today’s film news roundup, Glenn Close gets an honor, AFI names its Directing Workshop for Women participants and Teri Polo gets cast in a Christmas drama. CLOSE HONOR More Reviews Iranian Film Festival New York Review: 'Sheeple' Film Review: ‘Storm Boy’ Glenn Close will be honored on Feb. 21 by the US-Ireland Alliance at [...]

  • Jason Reitman Ghostbusters

    Jason Reitman to Direct Secret 'Ghostbusters' Movie

    Sony Pictures is getting the wheels in motion for the next installment in the “Ghostbusters” franchise, and it knows who it’s going to call to direct: Jason Reitman. Sources tell Variety that Reitman, whose father, Ivan, directed the first two “Ghostbusters” movies, will direct the latest pic in the famous franchise. More Reviews Iranian Film Festival [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON in Glass. M.

    ‘Glass’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Glass.” Ads placed for the superhero thriller had an estimated media value of $9.89 million through Sunday for 1,183 national [...]

  • Danny Glover

    Danny Glover Joins 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' Sequel

    Danny Glover has joined the cast of Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” sequel. His role is being kept under wraps, as is the storyline. Glover will star opposite Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, all of whom are set to return. More Reviews Iranian Film Festival New York Review: 'Sheeple' Film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content