Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Malayalam film The Teacher streaming on Netflix. One of my main reasons of picking this film over a few others was because it is a Malayalam film coming from an industry that has been insanely consistently in a year where supposedly they were not at their best! Needless to say my love for Malayalam films is unparalleled. The film also starred Amala Paul whom I admire as an actor. The only issue lies with her choices which often flatter to deceive in many ways. I was unsure where this film was headed but its first look did seem to be impressive thus raising my hopes. So then is The Teacher worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
The Teacher follows the story of a protagonist who was physically abused by four of her students. What happens next? While the story does address a heinous crime which should, in my opinion, result in the highest punishment possible, the writing was just lazy and rather confused with what it wished to say. Was this a gritty drama? Was this a revenge thriller? I could not tell! The screenplay standing at a shade under 2 hours does make for a brisk watch but it isn’t necessarily a good one!
The drama opens with a rather dazed protagonist who wakes up one morning, only for the viewers to sense that something is amyss. This was a promising start that contributed well to the initial world building that was taking place. You are also introduced to the protagonist’s husband who is working as a nurse and is a silent spectator to a stray incident featuring a child patient. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the drama although it wasn’t entirely unpredictable.
A twist in the tale does push the story forward but I was rather confused with its approach. Was it the writing coaxing the viewers to get a glimpse of the psyche of the protagonist? Was it leading the audience into believing something before making a U-turn? The writing here was dealing with a very sensitive issue and so the writing had to delicately portray that in a manner which would shock the audience. But here I could never feel the pain of the protagonist or what she was supposedly going through. Those blank stares by the protagonist was just not enough.
There are some needless subplots that virtually contribute nothing to the larger picture. Yes, in between there are glimpses of brilliance with the husband reacting in a certain manner on finding out that his wife’s baby is not his. But the confused writing tries to pack in a lot and as a matter of fact says nothing at all! The events leading up to the final act are plain random.and the final act is even more bizarre with the way it was executed. A pregnant lady fighting like a pro? Good luck with that over the top approach out of nowhere! Overall, the screenplay is a bummer! Confused and lazy to say the least!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are decent but the proceedings ensure that the impact of the lines are diluted. The BGM is quite good as is the cinematography that captures some lovely frames here. Director Vivek misses the mark here. This kind of a delicate subject needed a little more empathy and softness with sensitivity. So the confused approach leading to a bizarre revenge plot was absolutely unnecessary!
The performances are pretty good here. Vinitha Koshy is well restrained, Manju Pillai is quite good. Chemban Vinod is decent although his character appears randomly. Hakeem Shajahan as Sujith is superb and definitely makes his presence felt. And I feel the most sorry for Amala Paul because she delivers a brilliant performance in a sub standard film. Again it does boil down to her choices which she should be smarter with. Having a strong performance oriented role may not be the only criteria for signing a film. You need a solid script to enhance it! Hope the lesson is learnt next time!
The Teacher is a classic case of lazy and confused writing that sinks a potentially relevant drama. Available on Netflix.