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Review Malayalam

Vujá Dé review: Melds together time, reality in the realm of dreams

Release Date: 18 May 2020 / 18min

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

The experimental short film by Joby Varghese is an exploration of love and relationships viewed through the prism of time.

Stanley Kubrick once said, “If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.” Vujá Dé, a Malayalam short film directed by Joby Varghese, tugs at an idea and unravels it, traversing various interlinked ideas. The title, a take on the idea of déjà vu, is, in fact, the opposite of it, taking us on a journey that expands its canvas at each turn. From considering the ownership of dreams and through it time, the film becomes a rumination on relationships and how they develop and age, turning into something quite unexpected and stirring disturbing thoughts.

Melding together dreams, reality and time, the film discusses the idea of magic realism, as seen in the works of the celebrated Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez. Employing the technique and referencing the works of the writer, the film opens with a 13-year-old girl who is dreaming. She is with friends in the dream when she finds an intruder. As the creator and thus the owner of the dream, she is baffled how an unknown person entered it without her knowledge. How could her space be intruded upon by a stranger?

She finds that far from being a stranger, he is her husband, someone she will marry 12 years later, at the age of 25. But the husband is not a young man and has emerged from a later time, a time that has seen the ageing and metamorphosis of the relationship between wife and husband. As the husband says to his wife as a young girl, “Nothing should be in excess, not even love.”

Vujá Dé examines their relationship through the prism of time, and the ways in which it changes, sours and even becomes toxic. The premise is reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s mind-boggling film Inception (2010), but Varghese chooses a more philosophical approach that is rooted in emotional turmoil. The ideas and their execution are intriguing and the end leaves one guessing what the wife remembers of her dream and, consequently, what she thinks of her husband.

The film travelled the festival circuit in 2017 and won several awards, including for Best Experimental Film at the 12 Months Film Festival, Romania, and Best Fantastic Short at the South Film and Arts Academy Festival, Chile.

The film is now available for viewing on YouTube. Watch Vujá Dé.



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