Writing a review for a mystery thriller is already a tough act. But it becomes even tougher especially when the film’s director himself requests you to not reveal any details of the film’s plot at the press screening.
Paresh Mokashi who has made critically acclaimed movies like Harishchandrachi Factory (2009) and Elizabeth Ekadashi (2014) has tried something unique with his latest directorial venture Vaalvi. Although all three of his directorial ventures had a comical undertone, he is entering into a completely new territory of dark comedy thriller with Vaalvi.
To describe its plot is like spoiling its surprises, hence I will try to tread carefully. It’s a story of a husband and his mistress planning a perfect murder of his wife and disguising it as suicide. It’s easy to plan a murder but what about its execution?
We are first introduced to Aniket (Swapnil Joshi) and his mistress and dentist Devika (Shivani Surve) when they are in the middle of their rehearsal of his wife Avani’s (Anita Date) perfect suicide. Avani is going through a depression and Aniket- Devika sees it as a perfect opportunity to execute their plan. There is also a mysterious man (Subodh Bhave) with a hidden ulterior motive. Of course, not everything goes according to their plan and thus begins a slippery slope for these three leads where they lose every ounce of humanity with each new scene.
Sometimes, the funniest things we come across are things we shouldn’t necessarily be laughing at. Maybe we’re laughing, deep down, at the absurdity of a moment or idea, or the outrageousness of a situation that we simply cannot believe. And Vaalvi is a perfect example of it.
It’s a story about how selfishness can push people to expose the lowest form of humanity. Also, the film gives us a very important social message- just make sure to clean your house thoroughly, if you plan to commit a murder in a house.
Paresh Mokashi and Madhugandha Kulkarni’s screenplay moves from suspense, thrill, violence, and satire to farcical comedy and does complete justice to each genre without ever losing the grip of what this film is actually trying to convey.
Director Mokashi doesn’t waste any time in giving us backstories about each character. We are simply dropped in the middle of this farcical comedy. And we have to pay attention to keep up with the story’s progression.
There are obviously some creative liberties taken, but they don’t play any spoilsport here. In fact, on more than one occasion these creative liberties add to the madness and make the whole experience even more fun. If you crib about creative liberties in this film, you are someone whose sole goal while watching movies is to find faults and complain about it, instead of simply relaxing and enjoying this rare intelligent dark comedy. It’s a challenging task to find a perfect balance between the absolute absurdity of certain situations and still making them believable. Smartly written dark comedies wrap their subject matter in a thick crust of wit that you really have to chew on to enjoy. And Vaalvi is a perfect example of that.
Whoever edited the film’s trailer also deserves special mention as it must have been quite a challenging task to entice the audience to watch the film, without revealing anything about the film’s actual plot through the trailer.
Amidst the cheesy, raunchy s*x comedies and brainless comedies, we get a rare intelligent dark comedy that also makes you think about your morality.
Swapnil Joshi has been trying to break out of his chocolate boy image since the last few years but with the exceptions like the Samantar series, he has not managed to find a right script to do that. Well, his search ends with Vaalvi. Joshi delivers one of his best performances as a man who bites off more than he could chew and now has to step up to save his and his mistress’s life.
Shivani Surve also gives a solid performance as a woman who keeps discovering the worst version of herself with each new scene. There is a certain coldness in her character that will make you uncomfortable but also raise your curiosity about her character. The sudden spasm of violence from her character also keeps you on your toes.
But Bhave is the surprise package of this film. The actor, who is known for playing serious roles, does an excellent job as a man who gets stuck in his own web the more he tries to get out of it. The wittiness of Subodh’s character also keeps the proceedings fresh and light in the second half.
Mokashi’s direction is sharp and stylish. He along with his wife and co-writer Madhugandha Kulkarni keeps the proceedings light, without ever going overboard for the sake of making us laugh. Each joke and the farcical situation is included in the script with some purpose.
Vaalvi also gets full marks in the technical department, especially the background score by Mangesh Dhakde and Abhijeet Deshpande and Saurabh Prabhudesai’s sharp editing deserves mention.
Overall this story of murder and mayhem is too much fun to miss out!
Watch Vaalvi Trailer Here: