Film: "Aarohanam"; Director: Lakshmy Ramakrishnan; Cast: Viji Chandrasekhar, Jayaprakash, Sampath Raj, Veeresh, Jai Queheni and Kavithalaya Krishnan; Rating: ****
With Lakshmy Ramakrishnan's "Aarohanam", you can proudly bid adieu to cliched Tamil cinema and wait patiently for many such films to come and sweep you off your feet. Unarguably, this is one of the best films you will ever see from Lakshmy herself again. This film will make you weep, laugh, sulk and even pray, but never does it deviate from its path of giving audience an experience they can take back home and share with near and dear ones.
When Nirmala, a mother, caretaker and breadwinner of a family goes missing, her children, Selvi and Senthil, with the help of their father and few well wishers launch a search mission to find her. Along the course of the search, some events unfold paving way to a fitting and explosive climax. Will the mother get reunited with the family or not forms the rest of the story?
"Aarohanam" is about free-spirited women, who under the pretext of gender are subjected to suppression. Nirmala, played by Viji Chandrasekhar, is a character with unprecedented conviction and tremendous will power. What differentiates Nirmala from other women we see in our lives is the ability to vent emotions and stand up against all forms of dictatorship.
Lakshmy, a debutant, with only 90 minutes to impress, keeps everybody hooked to their seats. The film's biggest strength is its screenplay and one will appreciate it especially when the narrative oscillates back and forth in time, while ensuring viewers complete attention. The film has its highs and lows on the technical front, but hardly does it get reflected in the overall presentation.
If Lakshmy is the brain of "Aarohanam", then its heart is Viji Chandrasekhar. Typically, as heart experiences rise and fall in its beat, likewise, Viji as Nirmala, experiences moments in the film that are funny yet emotional. Initially, these moments may seem cliched but eventually address a domestic issue with unparalleled sensitivity.
The best part about the character played by Viji is never does it forces the viewer to sympathize. In simple words, the film doesn't exploit the condition of any character or try to manipulate it like it's usually done in other regional films.
Shot majorly using 5D camera, Shanmugasundaram's cinematography stands apart with slick shots, while national awarding winning Kishore's editing adds much needed creativity to the film. K's music is the perfect icing on the cake and never do the songs break the flow of the film. The "thapattam" club number is most definitely the best from the album.
The characters in the film make you weep, while some instances make you laugh, certain emotional moments make you sulk and finally after watching the film, you pray for the film's success.
If you miss "Aarohanam", then you may have missed most likely the best Tamil film of the year.