Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Ammuvagiya Naan..."(Language - Tamil) (2007) - Movie Review

I questioned on the remaining viewing of “Ammuvagiya Naan” after a clichéd introductory ten minutes. A call from a friend and a small word that it is not great but “different” extended the survival of the film. The “different” is a prostitute having an outlook towards her life in a perspective some one would have never thought of and rest is Vikraman directorial disasters of lugubrious surplus supply of intolerable emotions.

If a film begins in a court room, then it would pave way for a flash back. Here it is Gowri Shankar (Parthiban) and Ammu (Bharathi) confessing for the same murder. For a quick understanding of the situation on what has brought these two here for both the judge and us, we need the film which emerges from the book written by Gowri Shankar taking the same name of the film. From it we learn that Ammu as a new born is sold for money to a prostitute where she grows up seeing men come for their sexual satiation. In tamil cinema, a girl hitting puberty pretty much makes her eligible for cinematic sexual activity. After that with a horrendous song, Ammu is bid out for starting her life as prostitute. The bidding winner is one creepy-old-devious-perverted man Nathan (Mahadevan) who not surprisingly goes for a rape and gets beaten and embarrassed by the women out there. If some one like Mahadevan plays the role, it is destiny that he will be coming in the end to finish off the story.

Gowri Shankar a controversial writer goes willingly by his friend Mohan’s (Thennavan) regular to the brothel and he backs off after seeing a thaali (sacred wedding neckwear) in one of the women out there but he is attracted by young Ammu and he wants to talk. Thankfully the saving mentality of the average person does not become a dialogue and he continues going and pays for sex. He of course writes a story of her and begins to like her. How and what makes him love her is something never explained and a discordant song does not help either. He proposes to marry Ammu and the reply she gives is the only convincing and truthful dialogue, scene, acting and everything which made it critically acclaimed I believe. The envelope of taking the life of a prostitute and the pity that goes with it have been pushed beyond its limit and also been made terribly repetitive and in a sense made numb to the whole exercise. It is an easy emotional vantage point which would dip the viewers into the sadness with little effort and zero reasons. Hence when Ammu openly advocates her pleasure in being a prostitute and does not want to be tied to some one like Gowri, it is fresh and obviously original. Those lines are short lived fantasy of a good film.

Still director Padmamagan stretches that fantasy for another half hour. Ammu’s adopted mother convinces us in convincing Ammu to marry Gowri which is to get a normal life. In that whole scenario, with some subtle male chauvinism by the character of Gowri, I doubted that would be the bone of contention. Instead he is open-minded and gladly provides and surprises Ammu in unfamiliar ways. He lets her sleep alone as a gift for their first night after marriage and does not get shocked when she wanders without a saree inside the house. And then soon examples of Gowri’s great action of marrying her and Ammu beginning to dress traditionally and starts to visit temple are some of the very many unknown symbols of her adherence to the society norm irks. While being a home maker is a good thing depending on personal perspective, for some one who has only seen the four walls of quenching the sexual appetite of strangers, a life of a home maker would understandably be a great thing. But the transformation is instantaneous. Rather it defies the character of outspoken and outlawed Ammu.

And please let me not start about the Award Gowri craves upon. Every time when Gowri talks about it, right from the terrible TV interview till the final moments of Vikraman styled stage acceptance, it cannot be more awkward than the killing of a good core dialogue of a life unseen. It has may be three to four good moments of originality and rest is house of cards and a known one.

In the end despite her liking and loving of being the wife of Gowri, Ammu seems to be taken from a cage into a different one. The first at least had a greater range for her freedom while in the second she is made into this typecast traditional woman. The honesty and unflinching look at the reality of Ammu as a prostitute disappears and becomes a phony depiction of a character that we no longer recognize.

No comments: