Even if you have the most gripping of passages in your script, it can fail to create the desired impact if it is introduced a bit late in the day, when the audience have mentally distanced themselves from the film forced by the preceding uninteresting passages. In Ramakanth Sarju’s Vaathil (Door), a moderately gripping thriller, some intriguing possibilities appear well into the second half, but it fails to elevate the dull narrative.
At the centre of the movie is a marriage that is falling apart. Tani (Anu Sithara) and Denny (Vinay Forrt) stay in separate rooms within the same flat and often end up slamming the door on each others’ faces. The dinner table is marked by a lack of conversation. Through Tani’s reminiscences, we get more than a clue as to what led to their present situation. The rift had appeared suddenly after Denny began acting on his friend and colleague (Krishna Shankar)‘s misguided advice to make his life interesting. Inevitably, Denny would fall into a trap that he had created for himself.
Vaathil, in the end, becomes much like a game that was lost during the first half of play. The changing shades of the couple’s relationship and Denny’s escapades are written in such an unappealing manner, that the movie never really takes off in the initial half. The ever-present background music, which successfully recreates the mood of mind-numbing television serials, adds to the pain.
Much of the action happens either inside an apartment or an office room, like a large number of post-pandemic movies. The only stand out decor inside the house is a board which reads ‘God’, which the couple have kept as a tribute to their inter-religious marriage. The ‘door’ as a metaphor is over played in the script, with one of the central characters, caught in a crisis situation, even getting a message with an inspiring quote based on doors!
The script is replete with elements conveniently shaped for the narrative. The shift in Denny’s behaviour, following a night’s drinking session with his friend, appears jarring. Also, it is quite a stretch to think that, in this day and age, a death under suspicious conditions, can easily be hushed up with the relatives too helping in hiding the fact. The extended climax sequence, with elaborate explanations for how things had panned out, in case the audience missed the trick, becomes a further drag in the narrative.
In Vaathil, the door that can pull the audience in, never opens.
Vaathil is currently running in theatres