Aramm turned out to be a pleasant surprise as rarely do we get a watch films with strong content and a leading actor who can draw the audiences to the theatres....Spoilers ahead…
The story begins with an honest district collector Mathivathini (Nayanthara, named after the wife of LTTE leader Prabhakaran) sitting in front of her superior officer, who questions her on the bold decision she recently took, which has irked politicians and the State Government.
Yes, we have Mathivathini in the opening shot, there is no glorification for her, she is just there and doesn’t mouth any punchline to introduce herself. After a few minutes of interaction, we are transported to the rural milieu -a small family comprises of a hardworking daily wager Yugendran (Rams), his wife Sumathi (Sunu Lakshmi), two sons and daughter Dhanshika (Mahalakshmi). Yugendran's bike stops in the middle of a barren land because of fuel shortage. Sumathi calls her son Muthu (‘Kaaka Muttai’ Ramesh) but he is busy with his swimming practice with friends.
Within the first twenty minutes of the film, director Gopi Nainar clearly explains the situation of the family —The dad gave up his childhood ‘Kabadi’ dream because of the economic background, his son aspires to become a swimmer and watches the swimmers’ videos on the internet but he is also advised by the dad to give up his dream as nothing really changed. When the son suffers from ear pain after the saline water causes trouble, the family cannot afford to pay the doctor so they get medicines from a pharmacy. Both dad and mom prefers to use the money they have as doctor's fee to buy birthday cake to their daughter but when she visits the bakery shop, couldn’t buy the larger one and limits her dream.
Despite the fact that the Government fails in providing drinking water, medical and transport facilities, the entire Kattur village (where the film happens) celebrates India’s achievement of launching rockets and satellites(as they can see it from their place) by distributing sweets and bursting crackers. Aramm showcases the modern ‘poor’ India, everyone has a mobile phone, bike, and internet but their basic needs are not fulfilled yet.
All these factors are conveyed within the screenplay flow, and we don’t feel anything forced here. And once Dhanshika falls into the bore-well, Gopi Nainar builds up the anxiety and the film slowly shift the genre from an emotional drama to an edge of the seat thriller.
Yes, Nayanthara (looks dignified, mature and head strong) comes into the rescue operation but she doesn’t go overboard, there are scenes where the actress has to show her character by standing firm on her decision and takes full control of the situation by opposing local politicians and corrupt officers. Nayanthara’s character has to deal with the unorganized emotional crowd, disturbed parents and the petrified child stuck in the bore-well. Gopi Nainar has penned the screenplay in such a way that we feel the presence and necessity of the ‘majestic’ Nayanthara but at the same time, there is enough space for all other characters, it shows the magnanimity of the actress and smartness of the director.
Did we see traces of Jayalalithaa’s attitude and statuesque in Nayanthara when she played Mathivathini? She wears a watch similar to the Late Chief Minister, the way the actress handles the media (commanding them to switch off the mic and camera, taking on the male politicians with a straight face) reminds us of ‘Puratchi Thalaivi) but not sure whether it’s intentionally written by the director or not. There is a scene where Nayanthara talks about feminism and how difficult it is to be a female IAS officer but it also hits us hard on the situation of heroines in Tamil cinema.
The climax sends a political message by hinting a possible political entry. We secretly hope that some politician oppose the film so that it creates more buzz and attract more crowd to the theaters. Now coming to the main point, while stepping out of the theater we strongly felt the title ‘Lady Superstar’ Nayanthara is justified and as a matter of fact, I would say chuck ‘Lady’, we can call her Superstar Nayanthara because, except ‘Dora’, both her heroine-centric films —Maya and Aramm are script-driven top quality stuff. We see Nayan as Tamil cinema’s Aamir Khan (hope her future films too have more importance to the story and not stardom).
Recently, Kamal said “Among all Rajinikanth films, my favorite film is ‘Mullum Malarum’, it could be Rajini’s favorite too but I’m not sure about his fans (hints why Rajini prefers the ‘playing to the gallery’ movies). I feel Vijay should also do good movies, I know him personally and he is capable of doing it. There is no doubt about the success rate of Vijay but he should do quality films. In Hindi, Aamir Khan has been giving quality films for a long time and I wish ‘Thambi’ Vijay also act in such films”.
If Nayanthara can bring profits to the table by acting in content-driven scripts, imagine what Vijay and Ajith can do to Tamil cinema?