Aramm Review - A slap on the system!
Cinema is an art form and as such you really cannot define what you should be doing with it. For some it is pure entertainment. But for some it is much more.Time and again you have filmmakers who use this as a medium to put forth important issues. Here again there can be classifications as to those who try and wrap it as a coulourful package to be consumed by the masses and those who want to hit us hard with reality. It is obvious that Aramm is from someone who belongs to the latter category.
The promotional teaser/trailers of Aramm might have suggested that this is a film about agriculture/state of farmers/water scarcity. These do find references but the fact that the major plot of the film was never known to us is a masterstroke. It is a pleasant surprise to watch a film on this day and age with little clue as to what it is actally about.
Aramm does not commercialize or sugarcoat anything. But Gopi seems to have a solid knowledge about the need to engage the audience. So while the film has its share of docu-drama feel at places, it also has us firmly hooked. This is primarily because the film is about a rescue operation and it is fantastic that it actually works like a gripping drama even if you do not want to get messages about the rich/poor divide. The literal comparison between a rocket and a borewell is definitely food for thought. While the film might have even conveyed this subtly and have us infer, I really cannot register this as a complaint given the need for this to reach more people. Yes, the film could be a little loud at times (mind you it is only 'little') but it hardly breaches the threshold that could put off someone who relishes finesse on the big screen.
The initial few minutes before getting into the main plot is superbly done. We are shown a boy's love for swimming and how his societal status might come in the way of him achieving his dreams. We do think that the film is going to traverse this path but then it turns into something more serious. But these initial scenes are not merely there nor do they stick out from the narrative. They have their relevance to the story as well. Discussing anymore might be a spoiler and it would be unfair to do this to a film that has been particular not to reveal much through promotions.
A definite thumbs up for Nayanthara for adding a certain star appeal to the film. More respect to Gopi and the actress herself for not succumbing to the star tag and deviating from the issue at hand. This is a film that is least bothered about glorifying someone on screen. It rather lets us know of a real-life personality called Manikandan and how come we do not even know him when such persons should be our role models. One area in which most filmmakers who are eager to make these message movies falter big time is how they shape the negative characters. The divide between good and bad would mostly be on your face. Aramm delightfully eschews this. Most characters shown in the film are either pawns at the hands of the system or 'take it easy' government officers who are used to function in a certain way. But none of them (except politicians) are painted as evil in this film
Some lip sync issues and a couple of instances of melodrama are what could have been avoided. The former one for sure, given that this should be something basic. There was also a disconnect in the scenes where the enquiry commission officer questions Nayanthara. He surely could have been portrayed as a more understanding personality. While he does mouth dialogues implying the same, he does not come across as one on screen.
Aramm is a slap on the system and reflection of the shameful inequality that plagues our society. This one deserves your time. Not merely because it addresses an important issue but also because it does it in an engaging manner.