On 16 September, superstar Sidharth Shankar (Rahman) gets ready for the release of his new film. On the same day, Traffic Constable Sudevan (Sreenivasan) joins back on duty, after having been suspended from service for taking bribes. The day is special for Dr. Abel (Kunchako Boban) who is celebrating his first wedding anniversary. Raihan (Vineeth Sreenivasan), an aspiring television journalist, starts his first job with an interview with Sidharth Shankar the very same day.
On the same day, at a crowded traffic junction in Kochi, Raihan and Rajeev (Asif Ali), travelling in a bike are fatally hit by a speeding car at the signal. Raihan iss all set to interview the superstar, Siddharth Shankar. Also at the junction, in another car, is the surgeon Dr. Abel.
Raihan goes into coma and is declared brain dead although he is kept alive using ventilator. Meanwhile, Siddharth’s ailing daughter's condition becomes worse and she urgently needs a heart transplant. At first Raihan's parents do not agree to take their son off the ventilator and donate their son's heart but Rajeev and Raihan's girlfriend persuade them into it. Now that the heart is available, the problem was with transporting it from Kochi to Palakkad. No chartered flights or helicopters are available and so the heart will have to be taken by road. Someone will have to drive the 150 kilometres in under two hours during the rush traffic.
City Police Commissioner Ajmal Nazar (Anoop Menon) is asked to carry out the mission. He initially refuses considering the complexity and risk involved in the mission. But finally he heeds to the persuasion of Dr.Simon D'souza (Jose Prakash). Sudevan, being an experienced driver who has driven as an escort for ministers, volunteers to be the driver of the Jeep because he wanted to regain the name he lost due to the bribe incident. Accompanying them on this mission is Dr Abel and Rajeev.
Everything goes smoothly for sometime. But at a point the police team loses contact with the vehicle and it mysteriously disappears. All goes well and they reach the hospital in time to save the girl's life.Sreenivasan as Sudevan Nair, a traffic police constable
Kunchacko Boban as Dr. Abel Thariyan, a cardiac surgeon
Vineeth Sreenivasan as Raihan, A journalist trainee working in Indiavision
Asif Ali as Rajiv, Raihan's friend
Anoop Menon as Ajmal Nazar IPS, the City Police Commissioner of Kochi
Rahman as Sidharth Shankar, a movie star
Sandhya as Aditi, Raihan's fiancee
Roma as Miriam, Abel's sister working in Club FM
Remya Nambeesan as Shwetha, Abel's wife.
Saikumar as Raihan's father and a Doctor.
Fathima Babu as Raihan's Mother
Lena as Shruthi, Sidharth Shankar's wife
Vijayakumar as Mathew, Private Secretary to Sidharth Shankar.
Namitha Pramod as Riya, Sidharth Shankar's daughter.
Krishna as Jicku, a common friend of Abel and Shwetha.
Sudip Joshy as Miriam's husband
Reena Basheer as Sudevan's wife
Nisha Sarang as Sudevan's sister
Anjana Menon as Vyga
Renjith Reghu as Deepu
Prem Prakash as a doctor
Dr. Rony David as a Journalist
Mahima as Aditi's friend
Jose Prakash as Dr.Simon D'souza (Special appearance)
Nivin Pauly (Special Appearance)
The film is directed by Rajesh Pillai. Writers of the film Bobby and Sanjay, who scripted Ente Veedu Appoontem and Notebook explain: "The director wanted the film to be of a different mould altogether. Here every character is of equal importance as the story moves ahead. It was quite a challenging task but an enjoyable experience as well." They add that the film is inspired by a true incident. A similar mission was successfully carried out by the Tamil Nadu police in a more complex Chennai city. Also, in a scene, the character played by Anoop Menon talks about the incident.
Traffic is one of the first multi narratives made in this decade in Malayalam film. The film has Sreenivasan, Rahman, Kunchakko Bobban and Asif Ali as the four lead protagonists whose stories are narrated through the sequences. Vineeth Sreenivasan, who recently made his debut as a writer and director with Malarvadi Arts Club, says that it was the exciting script that attracted him to the project. "It is a particularly exciting day for my character as he is all set to join a news channel but as it turns out fate had other plans in store for him," adds the actor. On the theme, Rajesh says,"I felt it was a theme that could connect with viewers regardless of their age. It's a contemporary theme that reassures us that if we approach something with honesty, even nature will come to our support." The film will be the second on screen pairing of Vineeth and Sreenivasan, after their first film Makante Achan. Sandhya plays Aditi, who is in love with Raihan. "Aditi is perhaps more worldly-wise than usual for someone her age. But she has her own reasons for being so", says the Malayali actor who created quite a stir with her performance in the Tamil film. This movie was said to be better than its other remakes.
The film opened on 7 January 2011 to positive reviews. Veeyen of Nowrunning.com gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, writing, "Rajesh Pillai's Traffic is a brutally brilliant film in which he lends color to coincidence and unveils before us a cogitation on the dynamics of chance. A strikingly crafted film that is raw and genuine, it crawls right under your skin and stays there." IndiaGlitz enthusiastically praised the film's "riveting plot, great performances, soulful music... and skilful direction". A review at Cinefundas also praised the acting, adding that "the real hero of the film is the script". Sify.com called it "an overwhelming experience" and rated it as "very good." The Malayalam website Movieraga called it an "excellent movie" and went on to state that the new blood of Malayalam cinema cannot be seen as second-grade any more.
Traffic was screened in the Malayalam Cinema Today section at the 16th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala in 2011.
The film became a commercial success.
The songs featured in the soundtrack album are composed by Mejo Joseph and Samson Kottoor, with lyrics penned by Vayalar Sarath Chandra Varma and S. Ramesan Nair.Track listing
Owing to its critical and commercial success, Traffic was remade in Tamil as Chennaiyil Oru Naal (2013). Its Hindi remake, Traffic has been released in May,2016.