ARUVI (2017)

Critic - No.139

Director: Arun Prabhu Purushothaman
Casts: Aditi Balan, Lakshmi Gopalswami, Anjali Varadhan
Music: Bindhu Malini, Vedanth Bharadwaj
Language: Tamil
Genre: Drama 

A soft natured girl, Aruvi (Aditi Balan) born and brought up amidst the ever growing eco-social-consumeristic environment finds it difficult to fit in the society. One day she decides to take it hard on the people. 

Made with a shoestring budget, Aruvi is a poetic film that shows more than it tells. Based on the titular character, the film unveils the struggles of a women in the consumeristic culture in India. Like any middle-class girl, Aruvi dreams, yearns but never breaks the trust of her family until her family throws her out with distrust. This causes her to stay independent hoping for the day for reunion. When this loneliness is misused by the men in her society, she decides to question the entire perception of women among the patriarchal culture. 

The film looks like a passionate puzzle with string of montages being placed in between the present time, serving as an emotional symbolism and character backstory. Introduced as a terrorist, Aruvi’s true skin is slowly unveiled to us through the non-linear narration. We see Aruvi evolving in us slowly and her anger towards the people translates into us. The film also happens mostly at the TV studio and the director touches various levels of truth and ugly politics that happens behind the camera and channel. This is told with shocking fair of well written situational comedy that makes the first half thoroughly entertaining. Not only it touches on media truth but also make a few mockeries of out dated film makers as well.

The best thing about the film is that until the last 10 minutes, the audience will never know what is going to happen next. For a drama will sustain this is a very big thing. Through the course, the numerous characters around Aruvi serve as a political and social allegory in union. More than a coherent plot, the film looks more like a character study of Aruvi and how the graph of emotions she faces is caused by the ruthless societal view of a lonely woman. The furiously fast editing channels the anger of Aruvi on the society at the first half while the redemption in second half is treated with much grace.

The natural looking Aditi Balan who took up the role after overshadowing many in the audition, lives as the titular character, delivering a seasoned performance. She is no doubt the best find of the year. There are bunch of newcomers who have executed their roles excellently as well. Kudos to director Arun who have extracted detailed performances from all. His excellent flair of dialogues can be seen throughout the hard hitting dialogues especially the monologue that comes in pre-interval.

Another aspect that was prominently good was the breezy music by composers Bindhu Malini and Vedanth Bharadwaj. The songs are poetic and functional in the plot that supports of emotions in the film. On the flipside, the TV studio portions become a little draggy without reaching a clear peak that was needed for the climax. The most puzzling film might be the decision of the film maker to write the extended climax of reunion that looks predictable and ‘normal’ in comparison with the amount of emotions that was set up in the film. Somehow the emotional closure doesn’t look strong even though the director might have wanted to have a fleeting end. 

Nevertheless, after winning the hearts of many film festival goers worldwide, Aruvi's genuine content should win the hearts of many Indian audiences (primary target audiences) as well.
Steered by gush of emotions, 'Aruvi' is an unpredictable social satire that is lifted by incredible performances and hard-hitting dialogues, tied up with a firm grip of film language.



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