“LIVE OR DIE”!! Indian Cinema and Survival thrilers – Trapped and Helen
But sometimes, just two hours of our day can make us realize how invaluable we are and embrace and celebrate every moment of our life with gratitude and love. Survival thrillers are not just a genre of films, they are adventures that make us skip a beat.
My earliest introduction to such a theme traces back to childhood when I read “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defo. A rich young man stuck in an uninhabited island for almost 27 years and survives the worst has undisputable reasons to still remain a classic. Cast Away(2000) starring the veteran Tom Hanks is a modern take on this 300-year-old bestseller.
Trapped(2016), by Vikramaditya Motwane, must be first of its kind. Shaurya, played by the very versatile Rajkumar Rao, gets locked in his newly rented apartment in a Mumbai. A dead phone battery, no electricity, no neighbors, no food, and no water worsen his condition so badly that we expect him to lose any hope of coming out alive. But Shaurya does extremes to survive that one can’t imagine. The success of the film is when we are able to feel the helplessness of Shaurya when he is trapped for almost a week and the joy and exhaustion that he experiences after his escape.
The recently released Helen(2019) is one such attempt in Malayalam. While Shaurya was trapped in his desolated flat, Helen gets trapped in the freezer in her workplace. While her loving family searches relentlessly for her in every corner of Kochi, she tries to keep herself alive in that -17 degree temperature gathering all her strength. Covering herself with cardboards and plastic wrappers and feeding on the freezer food, Helen somehow tries to keep herself warm, at least for a few hours. The sight of the dead mouse induces in her a fear of her own death, that seemed inevitable to her. In the end, the cops and her father barge into the freezer to find an unconscious Helen who is later rescued. The movie gives a glimpse of how it feels to witness death and how hope is always a very good thing.