One cannot be sure of it, but it could be the confidence that a filmmaker gets from having something solid right at the end that has contributed to some of the rather lazy phases of writing in Iratta, Rohit MG Krishnan’s debut directorial. Rohit, who has also scripted the film, cannot be faulted for having that extra bit of confidence, for what he has in store is something which is gut-wrenching enough to redeem whatever has happened earlier.
Much of the action in Iratta is set in a police station. A public function, in which a minister is taking part, is about to happen in front of the station. Three gunshots are heard, and a police man is found dead. Three cops turn out to be the prime suspects. With the political bosses breathing down on their necks, the police are under pressure to zero in on the culprit. But, this is just a part of Iratta, with the investigation itself revolving around the lives of twins Vinod and Pramod (Joju George in a double role), both police officers, who are unlike each other.
Childhood trauma, and its after-effects in shaping a person’s attitude to life and fellow beings, is one of the central concerns of the movie. It keeps returning to the theme through the present lives of the twins, one of whom had to undergo such trauma and loneliness at a young age. But such experiences cannot always be used to explain away heinous crimes committed by past victims. Coming back to the lazy phases mentioned earlier, this childhood flashback bit is one such, with loudly-staged sequences.
Much of the focus seems to have been on writing the characters of the twins, especially Vinod, so much so that many others around them are ignored or are given poorly-written lines. For instance, the Forest Minister (Srinda) is heard repeating the same line of dialogue about pressure from the CM and demanding the police officers for quick results. This is all that she gets to do all through the movie, in identical sequences. Anjali, another capable actor, gets just a couple of lines to utter, while for the rest of the scenes, she just has to maintain a troubled expression. A man who is lodged in the cell in a ganja case, while the shooting incident happens, gets a more carefully-delineated character than these two.
But, all of this is made up for in the case of the twins, who are written with a certain depth. Joju brings heft to the roles, interpreting both characters in his own way. He is successful in making us feel that we are watching two different human beings, through some careful alterations to the gait, body language and dialogue delivery.
Novelty is in short supply when it comes to the investigation, with scenes which bring back memories of recent police procedurals, of which there have been many in Malayalam. It floats along on the strength of the many sequences revealing the characters of Vinod and Pramod. Still, it is that final revelation which prevents Iratta from becoming just another average procedural.