Onto the next release of a weekend and is it even a Friday without watching and reviewing a Malayalam film! With that I finished watching the new Malayalam film Roy starring Suraj Venjaramoodu and streaming on SonyLiv. My love for Malayalam cinema is unparalled but moreso because they have been consistently taking chances and pushing the envelope. But when it comes to mind benders, I absolutely go bonkers over some theories and conspiracies.
It was about a month back that I had watched a splendid Malayalam mindbender Rorschach. And so much was the influence of the film that I could not pick myself up in writing its review instantly. I had to let the movie sink in and marinate it a bit in my head before venturing to write about it. And straight up I did have a bit of a deja vu after watching Roy. It is yet another mindbender with so many theories at the end that it had me second guessing myself before coming to a somewhat logical conclusion which I will try and explain in my review. So then does Roy manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay(Ending Explained + Theories)
Roy follows the story of a man unable to distinguish between his dreams and reality, who suddenly finds himself in the middle of an investigation after his wife goes missing. The story is a mindbender provided you are willing to go deep in its material. The screenplay standing at just over 2 hours makes for a brisk watch but there is a catch. You will constantly need to focus on every single detail while watching the drama and for that the film may seem longer than it actually is.
The drama does open on an indifferent note wherein you are introduced to the protagonist and his wife who are living a happy life. The protagonist is an interesting character though who we are told is into lucid dreams that often come true. Now I say indifferent because there was an extended flashback after the disappearance of the wife which had some important details. However from the structural point of view of the writing, it could have begun from the flashback and made its way to how the drama does eventually shape up. But having said that, the current approach doesn’t hamper the drama in anyway!
The drama is investigative in its structure post the disappearance of two significant characters. It does throw in clues throughout its narrative featuring the protagonist who cannot distinguish dreams from reality. This sole fact does keep the viewers on their toes in an engaging screenplay. Many viewers may turn around and say that the writing lacks the intent and the flow, something that I will contest here! The drama is deliberately designed to keep certain details foggy as you try and piece together the mystery. Like Rorschach, the drama may seem one-dimensional from the face of it yet the deeper you dig, the more indulgent it would be.
This brings me to the final act that is open ended and brings with it a host of *my personal theories*(which can be wrong as well). So from this point there will be Spoilers in this section, so if you haven’t watched the film yet then skip this section and make your way to the subsequent sections. So here we go! Teena(Roy’s wife) is finally rescued after Roy does get a vision about her location in the forest. This before another writer Rajagopal, a novelist returns from the same location, where Teena had gone to find him(again with the help of clues in Roy’s dreams). Now the burning question, who was behind the kidnapping of Teena and Rajagopal? It couldn’t have been as simple as Rajagopal being behind it. Why else would he want Teena to complete the novel on his life? It is much more than what meets the eye! And I have two theories to support it with a bit of an interlink.
As per Roy, it was Rajagopal and his friends who had killed and buried someone from a nearby college years back. So my theory number one states that this was the work of Rajagopal’s son who is an Ex-MLA. We get this hint through a TV report right at the start of the film, almost as a passing reference. So the case might have been that Rajagopal’s son studying in college may have got a girl and assaulted her(the girl is evident in one of Roy’s dreams), only to kill her, with Rajagopal playing the dutiful father to his son. A latter reference in Roy’s dream states that Rajagopal can be bumped off if he happens to open his mouth. The hint being the person involved is powerful which could well have been his own son!
My theory number two states that the character of Roy may also be a case of split personality. By that I mean that he is a loner by the day and a vigilante by night. And so what he considers as “dreams” might be his alternate reality wherein he has been hiding off and killing people. A case in point being that we are told that Roy used to work at a college and was terminated a year before Teena joined the college. We aren’t told if this is the same college but there is a chance that he was involved behind the disappearance of girls and his first wife! Some dreams may have been a haunting aspect of his reality, like the girl who did tell Roy the exact location where she was buried. Also Roy, may have attacked Rajagopal during his night visit, as the next day when the cops arrive they find his condition critical. Additionally, Roy did know the exact location of his wife that invariably did lead to her rescue. All these clues point towards Roy being the culprit.
Now I do have an interlinked theory too. There might be a case that the son of Rajagopal may have used Roy as a vigilante, thus taking advantage of the lucid dreams that Roy was exposed to. This means that Roy would never know that he had committed crimes while he would have all along. There is a distinct possibility of each of the three cases in what is another splendid piece of writing!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are designed to be conversational with smaller nuances thrown in the screenplay that allows the users to trace the path of the investigation. The music is good here as is the BGM. The cinematography is quite good with the drama well short as well. Director Sunil Ibrahim starts off on a slightly sluggish note but soon finds his groove and leads the way for a delicious mindf*ck! The direction is really good once the viewers are settled into the drama and more so if the viewer is willing to dig deeper into it.
The performances are splendid here. Jinse Bhasker as SI Asif is sincere and quite earnest. Sija Rose George as Teena looks pretty and has a charming and spunky presence onscreen. Shine Tom Chacko is omnipresent and absolutely a delight to watch as Ajith. The amount of restraint which he shows is wonderful to witness. But it is Suraj Venjaramoodu who shines yet again as Roy. His mannerisms and his stoic expressions are mysteriously good. The writing does allow his character to be two steps ahead of the audience at any given point of it. This was another stupendous act by a prolific actor!
Roy is another brilliant mindbender from the Malayalam Film Industry that makes for a fascinating watch. Available on SonyLiv and Highly Recommended!