Stand Up Review: Vidhu Vincent walks the talk in this hard-hitting film!
‘Stand Up’ starring Rajisha Vijayan and Nimisha Sajayan in the lead roles has hit screens today. The film is directed by Vidhu Vincent, who is the only Kerala State Award winning woman filmmaker. This sophomore effort of her is scripted by debutant Umesh Omanakuttan and produced jointly by B Unnikrishnan and Anto Joseph.
First things first, ‘Stand Up’ is not a fun, feel-good comedy centred around the stand up comedy scene. Instead, the title has an inner meaning which sounds apt for the film. The film is structured in the form of a stand up comedy show hosted by Keerthy Thomas (Nimisha). It’s through her narration that the film moves forward. So basically, stand up is just a tool to narrate a story that’s very relevant and important in today’s times.
‘Stand Up’ has all the sensitivity of a woman filmmaker helming it. The issue of male gaze is negated and Vidhu has done extremely well to capture the trauma of women who suffer from abusive relationships. Along with that, the film also puts forward its criticism against the society’s narrow mindset, the importance of consent and how police and the system work according to the whims of influential people. The film does have a few loose ends and under developed characters but they make it up with a powerful third act, where it really gets into its elements.
‘Stand Up’ is backed by some solid performances and the stand out among them is easily Rajisha Vijayan. As someone going through an abusive relationship, Rajisha gets it spot on with her vulnerability and dilemma that she is constantly fixed in. The two lead characters – Dia and Keerthy have polar traits. While Nimisha’s Keerthy is a go-getter with a tomboyish attitude, Diya is more of a docile yet ambitious girl who is constantly pulled back by her affair with Amal.
The film has some very disturbing scenes that’s never objectifying or voyeuristic. Rajisha holds these scenes together with her stunning performance that might move you to tears. She really gets to skin of the character and effectively conveys the hurricane of emotions that she is subjected to go through.
Venkitesh of ‘Nayika Nayakan’ fame plays another important character and the youngster is quite impressive. Arjun Ashokan, Divya Gopinath, Praseedha, Nisthar Sait, Junice, Jolly, Rajesh Sharma, Sethulekshmi and Sajitha Madathil have also done their parts well. Veteran Seema, who is making her comeback, has a brief role but still manages to make a mark with her dignified presence. Wish she had a proper rounded character. On the technical side, the screenplay goes back and forth but Christy Sebastian’s seamless editing holds the attention. Varkey’s music is in proper sync with the mood of the film and it’s another area where the film scores big time.
Director Vidhu Vincent is one of the biggest faces of the revolutionary WCC and is someone who has always voiced her concerns related to social issues. So, ‘Stand Up’, in a sense, is like her walking the talk. With a very relevant subject in hand, Vidhu treats it with utmost sensitivity and sincerity. The film will disturb you, move you to tears and eventually make you think. That’s the basic quality of a well-made film.