Game Over: The War Within
Star Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Vinodling Vaidyanathan, Anish Kuruvilla, Sancchana Natarajan, Anish Kuruvilla, Sanchana Natarajam, Ramya Subramanian, and Parvathi T.
Directed by Ashwin Saravanan
Written by Venkat Kacherla
Music Composed by Ron Ethan Yohann
Cinematography by A Vasanth
Edited by Richard Kevin
Censor Certificate: UA & Runtime: 103 Minutes.
The basic human nature is always primal and primitive – Survive. But when the going gets tough many crumble and tremble. They suppress their instincts so much that the body reacts to this suppression in different ways. Physiological problems do end up weakening people physically more than they imagine while mental strength has the ability to help a person struggling to even stand, fight with all their might. This can be seen as underdogs winning against all odds but can they really be termed as underdogs? Undermining oneself because of their own self-doubt and suicidal tendencies cannot be given underdog status. People who really can do nothing and who pull-off exceptional things against odds are underdogs. People who fight their own physiological battles are fighters who are getting trained to find their inner demons and win against them. Ashwin is able to mix a fighter and an underdog in one character immaculately.
Life is in itself a game and the levels are physiological than physical. The movie tries to depict those levels in the form of a game and also creates people with different physiological disorders throughout. Villains – psychos who love terrorizing single women and find happiness in their screams. They are plain idiots whose psychology seems to not accept live and let live. These three people can be equated to three kinds of people in the society – one who loves to point at a person’s damaged life and enjoy, second those who burn others with their words and enjoy their suffocation, third are those people who are only happy when they completely behead you with shame. The director did not literally mean to give them such characteristics but their camera, choice of weapons and design give us such a direction to think.
The Hero is also physiologically weak. She cast herself away from people and even her family in utter shame as an incident happened to her on New Year threw her into such darkness that no amount of light helps her to come out of it. If a positive mind can look at the single spotlight in a dark room, she fears even in the room filled with light so much that she needs a candle for safety. This is not a just in case safety measure it is there due to her paranoia to face darkness even for one second. She is so feared that even her attempt to kill herself will be abruptly stopped by her if she is in a dark room. This kind of physiological disorder can only be cured if the person is willing to leave her comfort zone even at the worst possible low. This is the game created by the director. A person completely disowned by society rising back to her feet despite being on crutches.
Now, we have questions like why only three levels? Are those three levels, dreams? Well, the reality of the film is to give a metaphorical take on what psychological issues (Identifying the Problem, Accepting the Mistake devoid of guilt, and Moving forward with Solution ) do the women face and how should they come out? Three levels help you to simplify the complexity and it will also be easy to follow. Why these aren’t dreams? The director keeps giving you hints about what is a dream and what is the reality. The pain that tattoo cause is all real and it is a representation of how utmost optimism and positivity within us will always react to the negativity around.
Technically movie starts with a grainy view that is unsettling and breathing almost like an asthma patient looking to bring down the happiest and positive person just because she is single. Unfortunately, there are males who find happiness in picturizing the torture of a woman. Later, we get to know that she could fight cancer three times but still got suffocated and beheaded brutally, then the body gets burnt tied to a chair. As I said, society can be so cruel that people don’t realize their actions are hurting a person so much that they are killing their will to survive. This is paralleled by our hero’s story too. She is tortured by a person against her will and then it is recorded in a camera. On top of that, it is released to the world and they really don’t consider how bad she could be feeling that her photos in that state are trending. For them, it is 5 minutes fun and they tend to get so insensitive to even approach her indicating that she is “available” and “easy”.
After losing her will to live and jumping down from a building, the real game of life begins for her. In one way, we can say that the movie tries to talk about the social stigma that a woman encounters due to the perversion of men. In other words, it can be seen as a film that highlights the inner survival strength of a human even though external factors threaten to absorb all it and throw that person into an abyss. Hence it is an underdog story and a fighter’s will to survive. Life is indeed a game and it needs a good player to escape all the threats expertly while recording a happiness high score.
Technically the movie has the best in music, sound, cinematography, writing and editing departments which give the characters an environment to thrive. This film may not be a masterpiece as it has issues in pacing and repeating several scenes for effect purpose. This is more like nitpicking than really finding flaws. Taapsee Pannu seriously controlled herself from dwelling into her own eccentricities and she deserves accolades for this. Vinodhini is the glue for the film. Overall, this movie is a love letter to the spirit of single women who are trying to fight all prejudice and thrive. At the same time, this is also a study in the psychology of humans who need to come out of their own insecurities and face the darkness without any support of light.