|Prasanna, Sneha, John Shea|
It’s a gutsy film because it dares to explore unchartered territories in Tamil cinema and expose the dark side of child abuse and pedophilia lurking in our society. The director should be appreciated and lauded for his treatment of a sensitive subject, without ever turning his camera into a voyeur.
Senthilkumar (Prasanna) is the stereotypical South Indian NRI settled in the US in a New Jersey suburb and living the American dream. He has a picture perfect life - a gorgeous devoted and loving wife Malini (Sneha), rooted in Tamil culture who insists everybody speaks Tamil at home including their six-year old daughter Rithika (Akshaya).
Senthil is a hard working guy who calls the shots in an IT firm and has a successful career. Everything seems fine, till a stranger a white man Robertson (John Shea) comes into their mansion to paint their basement, and nothing is the same again.
It is a simple straightforward film, with superb dialogues and depiction of the average NRI Tambras (Tamil Brahmins) way of living in US, their ambitions, joys and fears are well brought out. The anxious husband at work, who cancels an important presentation in a different city for the safety of his family telling his wife casually to make Thakkali Rasam and Urulakizhangu Poriyal, and by that time he will be home, is a gem.
The film and its wafer thin story line works mainly because of the performances of Prasanna, Sneha and John Shea. Prasanna has given a matured performance, and makes a sensational comeback as an actor of substance with the perfect dialogue delivery. Sneha plays Malini with touching sincerity and the characters mood swings and fears are well brought by the competent actress.
Even little Akshaya fits the role, though the real scene stealer is John Shea. His character has been well-etched; the director wants to say that looks are always deceptive. So when the character is introduced, Malini says- “He is such a nice gentleman, old enough to be my father.” John Shea plays the fiend to perfection.
Technically the film is top class, especially the camera work of Chris Freilich and the background score and music of Karthik Raja. Karthik’s music seeped in classical melody which appears in the film in the background proves that he is the true inheritor of Raja sir’s music.
Achchamundu Achchamundu, has its flaws, after a great first half the film tends to slow down in the second half. The suspense about the villain is known to the audiences very early in the film. These are just minor flaws, Arun Vaidyanathan deserves a pat on his back for pushing the cinematic envelope and trying out something different and bringing savvy freshness to the form hitherto unexplored.