What did I like about Aami?

Throughout his career, director Kamal has been known to pick up challenging topics in his films. Be it Perumazhakkalam or Karutha Pakshikal, his films dare to speak about things that often filmmakers won’t address. Even when it came to biopics, he brought in the same passion to tell important stories, such as that of J.C Daniel in “Celluloid” and now it is ‘Kamala Das’ in “Aami”.

Having recently seen Aami on ZEE5, I thought it would be a good time to discuss elements of the film that really caught my eye.

Before that, one needs to know about the person it is based on – Kamala Das/Kamala Surraiya.

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Madhavikutty / Kamala Suraiya

Kamala Suraiya, born as Kamala Das was a  well known literary personality from Kerala, often bit controversial though in her writings and actions. She was born into a well-known family of literary personalities. Her mom Balamaniamma was also a well-known poet.  Madhavikutty’s writing was always bold and honest. Few times her works’ and outlook attracted criticism from various quarters. Madhavikutty ran into controversy when she decided to accept Muslim faith, changing her name to Kamala Suraiya, at the age of 65.

Things that caught my eye in Aami

Image Courtesy : Wikipedia

In Aami, Kamal went for the slightly slower narrative, a departure from his usual style. Considering how controversial Madhavikutty’s life was, the movie had a liberal dose of drama too. But what set it apart was the semi-fictional approach it went for. Just like Madhavikutty did in her autobiography Ente Kathe/My Story, director Kamal uses elements of fiction and fantasy to thoroughly explore ideas and themes that Madhavikutty stood for in her life.  

The other main highlight of the film is Manju Warrier, for obvious reasons. She is a great performer and you could witness glimpses of that in so many occasions during the film. Manju has done full justice to the protagonist role of Kamala Das, breathing life to a layered character with finesse. Other actors that shine in this movie are Murali Gopy, who plays Kamala’s husband, Madhava Das and Tovino Thomas who plays Lord Krishna.

Also, the director was successful in recreating the bygone era. As the story travels to different places like Mumbai, Kolkata and rural Kerala in different eras, the world Kamala built felt very real in the movie. Major credit for that goes to the makeup and costumes which fit the period’s actual style.

The film, to a certain extent, justifies the life of Madhavikutty. Her conflicts, struggles and quest for true love. An interesting take on the film is the role of Tovino Thomas as Lord Krishna. As someone who is looked upto to fill the lonely void in her life, Madhavikutty always loved Lord Krishna. It is how Kamal captures this sense of loneliness within Madhavikutty is what stands out. Scenes between Kamala and the Krishna effectively showcase the inner struggles she goes through. Even, the songs have been well placed and add up the pace to the movie. Also, though the movie has a non-linear narration, the way Kamal narrates it makes it interesting.   

In short, if you enjoy Kamal’s films and are curious to know about Madhavikutty’s life, watch Aami. This movie features one of Manju Warrier’s good performances in recent times.  

Parvathy can almost single-handedly steal the show!

Malayalam cinema has always had some incredibly talented actresses. The reason being, the industry has seen many films having strong and powerful female-oriented performances.  If it was Sharada and Sheela in 1960-70s, Shoba dominated during 1970-80s. The 1990s saw some great performances from actresses like Shobana, Revathy, Urvashi and Manju Warrier. Meera Jasmine continued the trend in the 2000s and Parvathy can be considered as the one who can showcase fine acting in the present generation.

Last year, in 2017 Parvathy did her Bollywood debut in the super hit Romantic comedy film “Qarib Qarib Singlle” and now ZEE5, one of the leading OTT Platforms in India, is showing “Almost Single”, the Malayalam dubbed version of “Qarib Qarib Singlle”.

Parvathy

Right from her debut, Parvathy’s performance reminded me of some of the powerful performers like what I had mentioned earlier. Undoubtedly, we can say that Parvathy is one of the best performers Malayalam cinema has seen in recent times.

 From the Teenage artist!

Right from the Notebook, the much-acclaimed Rosshan Andrrews film which dealt with the subject of teenage pregnancy where she played one of the three main characters, Parvathy’s career path was steady with good performances and many hits. She was also careful enough to choose films where she had the opportunity to perform. So if we look at her filmography, we can see so many power-packed performances – a luxury for today’s actresses.

Memorable Roles

There are many to choose from. There is the self-confident, wheelchair clad RJ Sarah and her search for true love in the super hit film Bangalore Days. Then, there is the curious girl who goes in search of a mysterious man in ‘Charlie’. She then transformed into the ever strong-willed “Kanchanamala” who sacrifices her life for her love “Moideen” played by Prithviraj ( I feel Prithviraj-Parvathy on-screen chemistry is the best) in the critically acclaimed movie “Ennu Ninte Moidheen” and the strong Malayalee Nurse struggling to escape war-torn Iraq during the ISIS era ( A true story) in “Take Off”.

When you look at her best performances, you see a pattern. In all her roles you see shades of the ever confident, strong and opinionated modern Malayalee woman.

Kannada, Tamil  films

She was equally successful in other south Indian languages like Kannada and Tamil. Her role in the Tamil film “Maryan” where she paired against Dhanush, was especially a memorable one and she was applauded for her performance.

Hindi Debut

When you share screen space with an actor like Irrfan Khan who is an epitome of fine and natural acting, you need to be at your best and Parvathy has done just that in her Bollywood debut movie “Qarib Qarib Singlle”.

In the movie, Parvathy plays a widow leading a loveless, monotonous life and having all the insecurities of metro life. Through an online dating site, she meets this ever charming, happy-go-lucky man called Yogi played by Irrfan Khan. The movie is all about how they discover each other during their journey together. The script is the highlight of the movie where there are many hilarious situations during their journey together. The onscreen chemistry of Parvathy and Irrfan is also another highlight of the movie.

Almost Single

“Almost Single”, the Malayalam dubbed version of “Qarib Qarib Singlle” is now available in ZEE5.  If you like Parvathy’s acting style (and I am sure you like Irrfan Khan), Almost Single is a must watch rom-com. I am sure you will love it.