It’s surprising how VIRUS (2019, Malayalam) foreshadows the COVID pandemic when most people had not even heard of the term. Shot and released in 2019, the film deals with the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala in 2018 and contains, quite uncannily, all the elements that would constitute the strategies and problems to deal with COVID one year later. Boasting an ensemble cast that features some of the biggest names in contemporary Malayalam cinema, this investigative medical thriller looks into all the aspects that have come to define the present crisis – the source of its outbreak, contact tracing, the fear that gradually engulfs the people, the social stigma, dealing with religious sentiments, politically motivated conspiracy theories, the role of bureaucracy, media trial – and above all, the unflinching dedication of the medical fraternity to deal with the calamity.
Directed and co-produced by veteran Ashiq Abu, this ambitiously written film strikes all the right notes to deliver a powerful message that reasserts its faith in the ability of mankind to counter unforeseen evil.
Streaming on Prime Video.
Ranjan Das is a Mumbai based filmmaker and faculty.