First off, kudos to the late director Rajesh Pillai for his efforts to keep pushing the limits of thrillers in Malayalam cinema. His passing is a great blow to Mollywood. He was a trendsetter of sorts with the 2011 hit Traffic being regarded as a benchmark movie in Mollywood and also remade in Tamil and Kannada. The Hindi version is also on cards. He will be missed.
Yet, thrillers in Malayalam cinema can be classified as pre and post Drishyam. There is an obvious sense of the need to bring about the feel that Drishyam did. Whether or not directors succeed, is a matter of how the audience perceive it. There is nothing wrong in directors trying to do that, but, when it starts taking a toll on the other elements of the movie, it becomes a problem.
This is the problem with Vettah. It is the fact that it strives hard to be something it needn't be. You feel that unnecessary urge from the director to push the audience to the edge of their seats. It is forced. You don't need that kind of a push here. The background music is good, but repititive to the point of irritation. There are a lot of smirks, cliched dialogues about how the feeling of being cheated gives the greatest pain of all, complicated characters, parallel narratives, and most importantly, there are a lot of questions, all of which are answered only in the last few minutes. We all love it when our judgement is tested and put to question. We like being teased by the prospective of twists and turns. Vettah has a lot of those. A tad bit too much.
Kunchako Boban, Manju Warrier and Indrajith Sukumaran have done a decent job, which is exactly what you would expect under the able direction of Rajesh Pillai. Had the audience not been coerced into believing that they are watching a thriller, the impact would have been real. Otherwise, Vettah is an apposite watch.