From psycadelic edits to a trippy subject, Trance has it all – not to mention all the biggies of Malayalam film industry. And whoever couldn’t have a screen presence, found spot in its credits. To begin with, Anwar Rasheed tried it all – a controversial subject, all the starry faces that could be fit in, the celebrated clash of religion – logic – media and well, ofcourse, Pastor Joshua Carlton himself – Fahad Faasil.
The story starts in a cramped house whose balcony opens to a stretched sea – a childhood memory of coming back home from school and watching the mother being carried down from the ceiling fan, an younger brother Kunjan who shrieks at the sea, smiles at the fishes and occasionally escapes anti-depressants, and Viju Prasad who fans his hands with speed at the mirror and whispers motivation to himself – to lead that life, you need more than just self-motivation.
But that doesn’t go on for long. Soon the younger brother finds a permanent escape from his anti-depressants – same one that his mother chose – and Viju Prasad, the motivational speaker who quotes his rate at 1.5 lakhs and then stoops to 3000 ultimately, was left with depression, red heavy eyelids and an immense scare for ceiling fans. He ends up doing the obvious – leaving the city and moving to Mumbai.
In an unrealistic turn of events, somehow he ends up in an interview with what seems to be two corporate tycoons, who in an unrealistic conversation ends up proposing him the idea to become a pastor – to sell religion. Nevertheless, for two weeks in a strict (that sometimes border on physically violent) training with Avarachan, played by Dileesh Pothan, Viju screams out verses from the Bible, often losing track of himself. Finally, Viju was killed, and Pastor Joshua Carlton was born – Pastor JC – No points for guessing the abbreviation for Jesus Christ.
What leads further into the story is a commercially-predicted storyline. From Fahad on a larger than life stage screaming and selling staged-miracles with paid actors of all ages with fanaticism to his properties – Villas in Munnar to Rolls Royce (??)! Well, moving on..
Not giving away the storyline, but then the film shouldn’t be watched for its narration. If at all, the film can be watched a hundred times and a time more for only one reason – the Pastor himself – Fahad Faasil. Fahad’s every part of the body acts in the film. And I’m not kidding, you can make a whole film with proper storyline with just his eyes – they speak, more than he does, in the film. His elated eyes when he screams to the fanatic crowd to his red heavy eyes when he can’t stand being alone – those pair of eyes are actors in themselves. There are so many instances I want to pull up, but there’s this one scene I can’t seem to shake off from mind:
Fahad’s mind has been screwed for years with the medicine that his bosses keep feeding him – side effects of which make him hallucinate. Fahad, who has to go and perform in the next 20 minutes to the Mega festival of 25th December was fed another ‘blue pill with a smile emoticon’ on it. And within minutes, after Fahad hallucinates to find his younger self with his brother as a reflection on the make-up room’s mirror, his body starts reacting with vigorous shakes and forced ear-to-ear smiles and he, in a reddish violet long suit, can be seen fanatically moving his legs and arms and running to the stage – with his attendants on a chase behind. I can’t think of anyone else than Fahad to have emoted that scene with such perfection.
From the beginning of the movie, I have been disturbed for one particular reason – what if someone actually starts believing all the whataboutery that Pastor acts up – and there comes Vinayakan. As a father who runs with his daughter’s corpse behind the Pastor, because God before science, miracle before medicine, and that cry of a father on losing his kid – Vinakayan does what he does best – a crude act that hits right where it hurts.
Trance, with Fahad, can be forgiven for the multiple glitches it makes. But perhaps, the biggest one was the plot inclusion of Nazriya Nazim – who played the role of Esther – Pastor’s fake assistant. Nazriya, with her limited acting abilities, doesn’t live upto the introduction that the casting agent gives – talented, who’s smile lights up the whole room and so on – no, she was not even close. In the storyline, she gets recruited to ‘be close to Fahad’ – well, she ends up doing none, except in an impulsive turn of events, she ends up telling the recruiter over a phonecall that Fahad has ‘some problem’ and then she ends up vanishing. Sigh!
The film could have ended with the mental institution scene and Fahad moving out after being treated for two years. But no, suddenly Nazriya ends up in Amsterdam and Fahad goes there too, to find her – in the red light district. What follows is every Malayalam cinema lover’s heartbreak – Fahad sights Nazriya and she ends up running up to Fahad in slow motion and unapologetically breaking the glass – scratch that, she ends up unapologetically breaking the build up that Fahad had done with all of himself, Anwar had done with his direction and Amal Neerad had done with his careful cinematography.
But maybe we can forgive so many more of Nazriyas, if we have one Fahad to rescue. Praise the Fahad! Hallelujah!