‘V1’ movie review: Not a watertight case

‘V1’: Goes in circles around the lead characters  

The character sketch of the male protagonist in V1 Murder Case (in short: V1) is interesting; Agni (played by Ram Arun Castro) has nyctophobia.

That should make things difficult. How could someone afraid of the darkness effectively investigate crimes? But Agni is not a police officer; he is a highly intelligent forensic sciences trainer though he was earlier a part of the force, but that was a while ago, when his wife’s accidental death gave him the phobia and caused him to give up the khakee. Yet he takes the lead in a suicide-plus-murder case that the female protagonist, Luna (played by Vishnupriya Pillai), is investigating. Phew! What a roundabout approach to make the male protagonist relevant again in order to make him do the heavy lifting.

The film follows the investigating duo of Agni and Luna as they try to nail the person responsible for killing a woman, and whose death leads to the suicide of her live-in partner, Inba (played by Lijeesh), as he is overcome by guilt.

And does nyctophobia at all interfere in the solving of this murder-mystery? No. So, why have it in the first place? It is a question we cannot expect answers to... like why did PS Mithran deem it necessary to repeat emphasise the word ‘lobotomy’ in the recently-released Hero? Perhaps, we should start walking into screens expecting our filmmakers to educate us with one English word per film.

  • Cast: Ram Arun Castro, Vishnupriya Pillai, Lijeesh, Linga
  • Director: Pavel Navageethan
  • Story line: A whodunit mystery where the two protagonists chase after clues to identify the person responsible for a woman’s murder

Back on the issue of the uselessness of nyctophobia to the overall screenplay, a potential suspect, who is on the run, leaves Agni fighting for his life inside a locked go-down, as the darkness triggers an anxiety episode. This is where the film breaks for intermission, and when it resumes, not only has the suspect been captured, Agni has made a full recovery from this mental breakdown and is back on the case. It is things like these that make a viewer feel disengaged from V1.

But the film has a few simple but clever scenes. For instance, when three people connected to the victim are brought in for questioning, each narrate the same incident differently. It is a classic ploy used to add intrigue in murder-mysteries. And though it is used widely, it still flawlessly serves its purpose every single time.

It is also evident from the get-go that Pavel Navageethan draws his inspiration for V1 from the many investigative series the West has given us — like The Mentalist and Psych, for starters. What could have made the film’s two main characters, and their equation, more interesting is if he had allowed the female protagonist to thrive even more — like Stana Katic in Castle or Maggie Q in Designated Survivor.

The film has simple visuals. Most of the screenplay unfolds in an investigation room, the kind that doesn’t exist in reality in our police stations. V1 would have benefited on the whole if more emphasis was provided on the deduction part of the screenplay. The drama of investigation is just missing, and when the why of the murder is finally revealed, you are left scratching your head. You cannot escape the feeling that the justification used by the filmmaker feels out of place.

V1 goes in circles around the lead characters, which is not a negative if you take into account the premise upon which it is set. It, however, is a problem to mount an investigative thriller on weak fact-finding points (look out for the scene where the investigators discuss tracking down a person’s address from shattered pieces of a reading glass found buried in the mud) because believability is a very crucial element in this genre.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 5:54:07 PM |

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