Tinu Pappachan’s Spectacular Imagery In An Uneven Drama About Martyrs And Their Lost Cause

These people include the cogs in a wheel that keeps the political machinery running. Like the titular Chaaver, the central characters in the film are martyrs or assassins who are willing to lose their lives for a mission. Yet what gives the film its sadness is just where these martyrs place themselves in this machinery, even if it means risking your life for a mission you are not even briefed about.

Written by Joy Mathew, one can include Chaaver too as a part of his trilogy that is all about human entrapment. In all three of his films, Shutter (2012), Uncle (2018) and now Chaaver, you find the central characters not just restricted to one physical location (a shop, or a vehicle) but also within the confines of what society expects of them. In Shutter, this is decency and in Uncle, this becomes a moral code between friends. If there was one emotion that underlines Chaaver, it is subservience, either to an ideology or a political party.

A highlight of this is felt in the way we travel through the duration of this without truly trusting the real identities of these four characters. While Ajayan (Arjun Ashokan) presents a close, outsider’s gaze into this world, we know almost nothing of the central characters. Their names—Ashokan (Kunchacko Boban), Mustafa, Thomas—appear to be there only to make a larger statement about how the system is all-encompassing without a religion. They seem to not have a origin either with Ashokan pointing at different wounds in his body and attributing them to the various hitjobs he has undertaken for the party in various parts of the State. 

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