Aramm movie cast: Nayanthara, Sunu Lakshmi, Ramachandran Durairaj
Aramm movie director: Gopi Nainar
Aramm movie rating: 4 stars
Director Gopi Nainar talking about the struggles he had to face to make Aramm, which released in theaters on Friday, told Indiaexpress.com that many producers turned him away as they thought this film was not “commercially viable.” Incidentally, the story at the heart of the film also deals with the sufferings of people in the pockets of rural India, who are deemed “commercially inviable” by those in power. It is after Nayanthara agreed to do the film, Gopi managed to get the required funds to bring this hard-hitting film to the big screens. Similarly, he has used Nayanthara as a catalyst for change in the narration, while the main spotlight remains on the core issue the film is dealing with.
In other words, for commercial reasons, Gopi has not provided more screen time or unnecessary dialogues for Nayanthara’s role, IAS officer Madhivadhani. While she remains in forefront of the action fast developing, the narration does not deviate from its straight path to meet the approval of her star status. It would have been such a shame had the director made compromises to add ‘masala’ in the script for ‘commercial reasons.’
First few minutes of the movie, it felt like Aramm was set in the post-apocalyptic future. The films take us to the wasteland of villages in Tamil Nadu, where people are worried that they may die of thirst. With empty containers bound to their two-wheelers, villagers haunt the parched lands for water, as long as it is drinkable, like scavengers. A villager, played by Ramachandran Durairaj, flags down a medical vehicle to ask if they have any water to drink. When the medical staff offers soft drinks instead, the villager promptly refuses it saying it will make him more thirsty for water. This scene speaks volumes about desperate situations in the drought-hit parts of the country. It also talks about the corporates that draw tons and tons of groundwater from the land to make beverages for the city dwellers putting the lives and livelihood of people in rural areas at risk.
Every scene in Aramm reminds us of the distressing reality of social injustices and exploitative politics. The director narrates the story through a family living in a remote village, which is bonded together in pain. The village may have been deprived of basic needs by the government. But, it celebrates with fireworks every time the country launches a satellite. That’s patriotism. Sunu Lakshmi and Ramachandran Durairaj play the lead couple in the film. In the beginning of the film, their 4-years-old daughter named Dhansika runs into a danger, a snake. She is taken away from it unharmed.
On a fateful day, Dhansika goes missing near the field, where her mother was working. When searching for her daughter, Sunu finds a shed skin of a snake and grows more anxious for the safety of her daughter. But, her daughter has fallen into over 100-foot-deep borewell. When you come to know that, you realise, “of course it has to be that. Poisonous snakes are way too inferior killers when it comes the government apathy.”
The speed of the film rapidly increases after this incident. (I welled up more than once even before the interval sequence). Even loud wailings of men and women and the ensuing drama look justifiable when the tragedy the film is dealing with is taken into account.
Sunu Lakshmi and Ramachandran Durairaj have delivered enduring performances that make us sympathise with the pain they endure. In this film, Ramesh and Vignesh look more trained as actors than they were in Kakka Muttai, which was their first film. Even the supporting cast has delivered gripping performances portraying the pain they endure due to government apathy.
Nayanthara is convincing in the role of an idealistic IAS officer, who put the needs of the people before the demands of the politicians.
As director-writer, Gopi creates a tensed atmosphere with a deep element of a thriller as a young life is at stake. Cinematographer Om Prakash’s work adds layers to the narration, as he visually takes us into the day-to-day compromises and sacrifices people have to make in rural India. Well, Ghibran’s music makes the scenes work more effectively.