One lazy Saturday afternoon I was just channel surfing when I came across the Malayalam movie Vasthavam. It is the story of a person caught in the whirlwind of bureaucracy and politics. An interesting movie that raises so many questions. The protagonist (played well by that hottie Prithviraj) is a naive young man from North Kerala who comes to Trivandrum to work as a clerk at the state secretariat . At the prodding of a mentor (played excellently by that wonderful actor, Jagathy Sreekumar) he learns to take bribes and climb the hierarchy, eventually becoming Personal Assistant (PA) to a Minister. He becomes quite the wheeler-dealer. There is one scene where blames his new corrupt self on the influence of his mentor. This raises questions about human agency. How much of our actions are really ours?
The protagonist's relationship with the three women in his life also raises questions. Love, lust and sympathy are the three emotions at play here. The protagonist was in love with his childhood sweetheart, but was forced due to indigence to marry another woman. He does not take his wife with him to Trivandrum. While at the Secretariat, he has an intimate relationship with the niece of the PWD Minister so that he can become his PA. He dumps her after becoming PA. Meanwhile, his wife stays in his village in North Kerala taking care of his old father and in one scene, he is moved by sympathy and offers to take her to Trivandrum. Ok... I will stop revealing the whole plot here.
The movie did not do well at the box office. I remember Prithviraj saying he had really expected this movie to be a hit.
I think the best thing about the movie is the romantic song "nadha nee varumbol, ee yamam thalirilamayi....."