There is nothing that stands above life, not even the right to be free from pain. This is the message that veteran filmmaker Jayaraj's latest movie 'Adbhutam,' released on the OTT platform Rootsvideo, emphasises. Chandrasekhara Warrier, hailing from Kerala has been a successful playwright in the US until an accident left him paralysed with a minimum hand movement - just enough to write on a clip board to communicate.
The story opens to the victory of a legal battle Warrier has been waging for a couple of years through his lawyer Gary Pearlman to end his life and thereby escape the unbearable pain.
Dr. Smith who has been treating Warrier is now tasked with the procedures of euthanasia which the court has accorded to him in a historic judgement. Caught in the paradox of medical ethics, a patient's struggle to be free from pain at the cost of his life and the pointing fingers of society, Dr. Smith is constantly bludgeoned by his conscience.
However, he has to follow the court orders in a few hours. The countdown to Warrier's finale has already begun and he aspires to meet few people close to his life, including his friends, wife, daughter and his parents who came all the way from Kerala and whom he hasn't met for years now.
The whole drama takes place in and around the chamber where Warrier is kept alive by a life support system. As the world's first euthanasia requested by a patient is about to be performed under the full media glare what each of his loved ones desperately yearned for was a change of mind. But for him, the pain is unbearable.
Th story that explores the profound values of life and relationships uncovers the incongruence of cultures and the beauty in it. It was a blitzkrieg act by Suresh Gopi as Chandrasekhara Warrier, depicting a tapestry of emotions from agony, remorse, love, nostalgia and so on to anxiety and excitement, lying almost motionless in a bed.
That KPAC Lalitha, as Warrier's mother Rugmini, has put her life into the character is quite evident in the way she manages to choke others with her histrionics. Gopi has only a few moments to portray the character of Warrier's father, but he too is able to magnify the feelings of the father of a victim left with no other choice than to take his own life.
Mamtha Mohandas as Warrier's wife Maria, Christopher Holmgren as Dr. Smith, Lawrence Tabali as the lawyer, Audrey Delattre as Angela, Naushad Kunju as the clown, Kavalam Sreekumar as his friend Vasu, Baby Krishna as Carolina and so on together leave a lasting impression by creating a curious and throbbing world around an immobile Warrier. Vasu's rendering of a Malayalm song (by Kavalam Sreekumar) inside an ICU of a US hospital is quite mesmerising.
The title of the movie, 'Adbhutam ' (wonder) suits its making more than the theme as it has been shot (2005) in two hours and fourteen minutes. The incredible record-breaking feat has been made possible by meticulous planning and the countless orchestrated rehearsals stretched up to seven days at Ramoji Rao film studio in Hyderabad.
While the background score by Issak Thomas Kottukapally travels along narrative rendering an entrancing rhythm, S Kumar's camera makes no mistake in capturing the whole essence of the story and the message it conveys. Running a little under one hour fifteen minutes Adbhutam is a wonder that happens when life and pain, whether it's of the mind or the body, are involved in an arduous race, with a stopwatch ticking nearby.