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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Trance: A courageous observation of malpractices in the name of religion

Trance is a courageous observation of malpractices in the name of religion in polarising times where rationality has been overpowered by blind-faith.

Written by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru | March 4, 2020 7:18:56 pm
Trance Director Anwar Rasheed has turned Vincent’s bold script into a trippy visual and audio experience with high-production value.

Director Anwar Rasheed has turned Vincent’s bold script into a trippy visual and audio experience with high-production value. Trance is so good that it could have been the opening film at any of the prestigious international film festivals. It is criminal when talented filmmakers sell themselves short, and director Anwar Rasheed and debutant screenwriter Vincent Vadakkan are guilty of the same. It is really puzzling why these filmmakers didn’t give Trance a wide launch that it deserved.

A wealthy businessman Solomon (Gautham Menon) wants to run a mass ‘opium’ den under the guise of a ‘non-profit’ spiritual entity that claims to be doing the work of Jesus. All Solomon and his partner Issac Thomas (Chemban Vinod Jose) want is to feed off the weakness of people by exploiting their fear of poverty and illness, drive them to edges of dispair and provide false hope in exchange of cash. Solomon’s business model involves creating a euphoric environment with the help of images and sounds, and push the participants into a deep trance where they no longer want to go back to their realities, which are harsh and unkind. Solomon turns faith into a go-to drug with sermons that thousands of people consume to escape hard truths of their lives. And to dispense the drug to the masses at a large scale, Solomon needs a showman and the showman is Viju Prasad (a magnificent Fahadh Faasil).

Viju is a certified motivational trainer in Kanyakumari. He comes from a family with a history of mental illness. Viju’s brother Kunjan (a wonderful Sreenath Bhasi) is chronically ill, and his actions even push Viju into depression. Trance also shows Viju negotiating through various stages of depression as he begins to process his terrible grief. He is desperate for a miracle and then meets Solomon, who offers him a ticket to success.

Viju is mentored to become a pastor by Avarachan (an in-form Dileesh Pothan). A non-believer is ordained as Pastor Joshua Carlton, shortly JC (which can also be interpreted as Jesus Christ). JC is forced to master the holy text and deceive people with sermons. Avarachan shares a love-hate relationship with JC. Despite Avarachan’s hard feelings towards him, he can’t help but admire and cheer on when JC puts up a good show as a ‘miracle worker’.

Fahadh Faasil’s performance as the pastor intensifies scene after scene and it hits a crescendo in the climax. He is sharp, energetic and determined and also seamlessly switches over to a grieving man with suicidal thoughts. He is simply a genius. So is director Anwar Rasheed. He has turned Vincent’s bold script into a trippy visual and audio experience with high-production value.

Trance is a courageous observation of malpractices in the name of religion in polarising times, where rationality has been overpowered by blind-faith.

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