Monday, July 17, 2006

Achu's Amma scores

Went to Osian.

I have yet to see anything fantastic (having made the mistake of leaving early, and thus, inadvertantly abandoning Paradise Now, in favour of aloo-parathas across the street) but I did enjoy watching Achuvinte Amma (Achu's Mother), a Malayalam film which I almost didn't see because the guy introducing it said it was about 'a girl looking for her identity'. My heart sank at the thought that it was going to be the usual blah about an adopted child or a girl who wants to know who her 'real father' is.

As it turned out, the film was a warm, funny one about two beautiful young women - Achu (Meera Jasmine) and Vanaja (Urvasi) - who are close, but not in that stereotypical cloying-conflicting fashion of the big screen version of mother-daughter relationships. This is a relationship with plenty of potential for disaster, but is not an emotionally draining disaster-zone from beginning to end. The pitch is higher than the typical festival-circuit movie, the colours louder. But that's something I'm used to, and rather like.

What's more, it struck me later - this is that rare Indian movie where a mother is a real person, not a weepy devi with greying hair, singing bhajans, or crying her eyes out for the sake of a wayward son. This mom's got a career, a personality, fears, quirks, mystery, etc. The daughter has a career too. And not as a secretary/nurse/doctor/teacher - which is what most Hindi films reserve for the working woman. This girl is a civil engineer who works at a very real construction site, helmet, dust and all. The best thing is, the mother is not dependent on the daughter, either financially or emotionally. She loves the daughter desperately, but finds her own way forward.

There are also some delightful characters to watch out for, such as the persistent matchmaker and the gold-strung great-aunt. I have minor quibbles with the assumed morality of Vanaja's history, when it is revealed, and the chronological inconsistency of the flashback scene. But on the whole, it is quite watchable. Do watch, if you get a chance.


david raphael israel said...

Looks like a fabulous festival; and from the number of world premieres in the Indian competition, I guess it's developed some eclat (if that's the word). Are you "covering" this festival in print? If so, hope you give a link.

Sreekumar said...

Yes, malayalam cinema does manage to produce a disproportionately large number of realistic cinema. But does this film score because of its contrast to the usual commercial cinema?
IMHO both the art films and the commercial films have their own niche and are made with different audiences in mind. So seems a bit unfair to compare them. I dont mind seeing either of them, depending on one's mood.

Zaphod said...

been a pleasure reading your blog...are now in the 'reading it' list on my own blog! thanks

annie said...

d.i.: i'm not sure, but if i do, will do so.
sreekumar: the film scores because its warm and funny and somewhat different from the stereotype. this is a fairly commercial film, not arty. however, i wasn't comparing the two genres at all. i'm quite happy playing audience for both.
me: thanks. :)

Surya said...

Good to read about this movie. This has 3 beautiful songs by my favourite composer Ilaiyaraaja.

annie said...

surya: didn't understand the songs but they were suitably non-intrusive, and the translations sounded good.

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