Cast: Nayanthara,J Vignesh,Ramesh Director: Minjur Gopi
Aramm the Minjur Gopi-directed film, is unquestionably a step in the right direction for Nayanthara, aka “the lady superstar of Kollywood“. From playing the glamorous heroine to being the gutsy leading lady of a socio-political drama, Nayanthara has proved — yet again — that she is an actress of substance.
As Aramm begins, you’re drawn into the life of Madhivadhani IAS (Nayanthara), a collector posted in a coastal district of Tamil Nadu. The villages in the area have a problem: the ground water they use is polluted, and there’s a drinking water shortage. The tankers supplied by the government to bring in water from other areas are diverted to city hotels and residents by contractors with political support.
Bore-wells are dug up in villages, as part of a government-sponsored scheme, to find fresh water. Madhivadhani gets into action when a four-year-old girl falls into a bore-well left uncovered by erring contractors. The film then follows Madhivadhani’s efforts to rescue the girl, even as the politician-contractor nexus, and the issues of bureaucratic red tapism are highlighted.
Writer and director Gopi has touched upon a topic that’s very relevant for Tamil Nadu. There have been several incidents of children falling into bore-wells in the state in the recent past; some of them died due to gross government negligence. Gopi has set the milieu well — a barren, parched land close to the sea, with a perennial drinking water shortage. The director, through his hard-hitting dialogues, also points out that while India is making rapid strides in space technology, there is abject lack of basic amenities in the villages.
Nayanthara, shorn of her commercial glam heroine image, is the pivot around which the film revolves. She is consistently credible. The actress is also aided by a terrific cast of supporting actors in Sunnu Lakshmi, Ramachandran Durairaj, Vela Ramamurthy and the Kaaka Muttai boys Ramesh and Vignesh.
Technically, the film is brilliant. Om Prakash’s camera gives the correct colour tone and parched feel to Aramm, while Ghibran’s great background score, action choreographer Peter Hein’s work and Ruben’s crisp editing add to the overall package. On the downside, the film at times gives the feeling of a documentary. The rescue scenes at the bore-well also remind you of the Malayalam director Bharathan’s 1990 film Malootty.
Aramm is a triumph of honest writing. It is about winning against all odds, and about good triumphing over evil. The film also points out how the government has failed to create a better life for villagers and about the limitations of an idealist officer fighting a corrupt system.
Go for Aramm, to see a new Nayanthara.