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Kavya Madhavan, Sreenivasan, Biju Menon
Bennet Veetraag
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Director Kamal narrates the troubled life of Aswathy, a young woman in Khaddama. She reaches the Gulf for some money to get her family out of trouble but is devastated by the sufferings meted out at her sponsor’s place where she works as a Khaddama (a maid in an Arab’s home). It’s a genuine story that should be an eye opener for all, but told in a highly conventional format.

Razak Kottekad (Sreenivasan), a social activist who finds more time for helping others than taking care of his own family, learns about a house-maid named Aswathy who is missing after robbing some jewelry from an Arab’s home. Razak’s investigation reveals some shocking truths about Aswathy’s sad plight in the Gulf.

In one of the early scenes in the film, as Aswathy (Kavya) waits for the sponsor at the airport, an old ‘Khaddama’ cautions her about the impending travails. Usman (Suraj Venjarammoodu), the Malayali driver at the Arab’s place and Fathima, an Indonesian girl who also works there makes her feel fine initially. But life soon becomes tough for Aswathy with the cruel treatment that she has to suffer from virtually everyone at the Arab’s home.

The film is based on a true story, which has been credited to journalist K U Iqbal. The screenplay has been written by K Gireesh Kumar and by the director himself. The gravity of the issue and the noble intentions, with which those behind it have made the movie, needs to be appreciated. The story also reveals some real facts that usually go unnoticed while people prefer to highlight the luxuries in life that awaits all those who are working in the Gulf!

It is a sensitive story for sure, but things could have looked more appealing if the makers had added some style to the presentation instead of following an old-fashioned pattern. The focus often goes away from the real issues and the result is that the agony of the lady often gets less effective. The film looks a bit too melodramatic at times and some of the scenes, terribly clichéd.

Kavya Madhavan has done the role of the protagonist with evident sincerity, though she barely looks too exhausted even after her traumatic days in the desert. Sreenivasan, Suraj Venjarammoodu, Biju Menon, Muralikrishnan, Lena, Sukumari and Jaffer Idukki have done their roles quite impressively. The visuals by Manoj Pillai are good and Bennet Veetrag’s music suit the mood.

You have to admit that it is never easy to narrate a disturbing story like Khaddama and the novel ‘Aatu Jeevitham’ by Benyamin has drawn a horrifying picture about how bad things can be, at least for the unlucky ones in the Gulf. The influence of the book is perhaps felt at times, especially during the climax sequences. Khaddama, anyway handles a different issue and it is indeed one that needs grave attention as well.

Verdict: Above Average


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