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Aarkkariyam Movie Review

Aarkkariyam Movie Review: An interesting premise paralyzed by average execution

Aarkkariyam Movie Review

Story: Shirley and Roy, a Malayali couple based out of Mumbai, leaves for Kerala for a one-month vacation with her dad. After they reach her native place, lockdown strikes. And the situation unfolds some unpleasant facts from their past.

Review: The lockdown was a period when filmmakers explored novel ways to tell stories within numerous constraints. ‘Aarkkariyam’ is obviously the result of such an attempt and the movie, set during the lockdown offers a handful of memory snapshots from the time, lining up Janata curfew, border blocking, community kitchens, and more. How well does the film’s story compliment the premise?

A Mumbai-based Malayali couple, Shirley (Parvathy Thiruvothu) and Roy (Sharafudheen) are entangled in some financial issues, and they undertake a trip to Kerala while the country embraces its first set of Covid-19 measures. A few days after they reach the ancestral home where Shirley’s dad (Biju Menon), a retired school teacher, lives alone, lockdown is announced. As their days drag on, certain incidents from their past start getting ‘unearthed.’

As a retired school teacher who lives with a heavy bundle of bitter memories, frustrations, and bodily ailments, Biju Menon is convincing. The little girl who plays Parvathy’s daughter is also a joy to watch. The song ‘Chiramabhayamee Bhavanam’ is a soothing melody that hooks us on to the story and its characters while it lasts.

The very first scene of the movie - in which Sharafudheen’s character is shown on screen, gazing into his laptop for a long stretch of time as the credits roll on the side - pretty much encapsulates the mood in which the rest of the film unfolds. Right from the beginning, the story progresses at a slow-breathing pace, piecing together the kind of montages that most people have experienced during the lockdown. It does attempt to bring in a crime angle to it to breath-in some life into the proceedings. And that’s what gives the audience some hope at the intermission juncture.

While the whole fun of enjoying a story of this sort would be the numerous guesses that the tale would urge us to make, and the final offer of a twist that most people don’t foresee, all that Aarkkariyam leads us to is anyone’s obvious first guess. There is hardly any tension that it makes us feel, and the kind of revelations with which the movie winds up, do nothing to entertain the audience. There are even junctures where the dialogue proceedings are cut mid-sentence, probably because the makers themselves felt the scene would otherwise drag the film on, further. The film would have benefitted if the story had some more meat to it and had chosen a better plot point to wrap it up.

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