Lijo Jose Pellissery-Mohanlal’s ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’ trailer hints at class struggle

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After a Zen-like contemplation in ‘Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam’ with Mammootty, where time and space coalesced in the mind of James/Sundaram to construct an alternate reality for the characters and viewers, Lijo Jose Pellissery seems to be returning once again to the realm of chaos in ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban,’ this time with Mohanlal. The trailer, which was released on Thursday, bears Lijo Jose Pellissery’s signature in every frame.

In the slices shared from Vaaliban’s world, the dyes of valour, camaraderie, and love are dyed over in the dark shades of abused power, class struggle, deceit, sweat, and blood. When the trailer opens, a voiceover on a black screen tells us how he got lost in the mirth of victory and wandered into treachery defenceless. Or how he won with deception and then got lost in the euphoria of power. It is not Vaaliban who is speaking but rather another warrior, likely an unjust raja. From the backdrop, the story seems to be set in the early years of the British Raj in India when the minor kingdoms shook hands with the visitors for their firepower.

In the frame, those in power look down upon the commoners and silence their rising voices with the bang of gunshots. From the voiceover, it is obvious that the oppression would continue for years, spilling tears and blood. The warrior acknowledges that from this sea of bloodshed, the sun of revolution rises, ending the dark era.

As the weary voice foretold, when the commoners decide to take up arms against the system, then no fort holds its ground for long. When the oppressed start seeping through the chinks in the walls of the fortress, one gets the first glimpse of Malaikottai Vaaliban preparing to break the shackles he is tied to. The low-angle shot from his back makes his obstacles look daunting, but not for long.

Unlike the first time when a commoner challenged the rulers while standing on the low ground barehanded, only to be killed by the queen’s gun, this time a group, seemingly inspired by Vaaliban, trains their guns on the ruler still standing atop their castle. The battle then moves to the grounds. Lijo’s cinematographers, Samanth Vinil and Phulawa Khamkar, opt for over-the-head wide shots to show how the battle has changed its stand into a more level playing field for the commoners. Prashant Pillai heightens the action with Wild West-inspired composition. As the trailer concludes, Vaaliban, freed from the chains, takes a knee, preparing to launch his next attack.

Lijo Jose Pellissery-Mohanlal’s ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’ trailer hints at class struggle

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