Director: Sanu John Varughese
Writers: Sanu John Varughese, Rajesh Ravi, Arun Janardan
Edited by: Mahesh Narayan
Cinematography: G Sreenivas Reddy
Solid: Biju Menon, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sharafudheen
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video
Human beings are basically unknowable. That’s the thesis of Sanu John Varughese’s terrific first movie Aarkkariyam. The title means ‘who is aware of’. By the tip of the movie, we all know quite a bit, however that solely hints at way more, which we are going to by no means discover out. The characters on this movie are bizarre individuals, caught up, like the remainder of us, within the upheaval of COVID-19. However they’re additionally deeply mysterious, hiding secrets and techniques that embody homicide.
Aarkkariyam begins in Mumbai. Shirley and Roy are packing up to return to her residence in Kerala. It’s the early days of the pandemic. Roy’s enterprise is floundering – he has borrowed cash however a key consignment is caught on the docks. In the meantime Shirley’s younger daughter Sophie is caught at her convent faculty. Shirley and Roy handle to make it again to Kerala however they aren’t capable of drive to Sophie. The nation goes into lockdown. It’s a precarious time with individuals carrying masks in public and trying some type of social distancing.
The primary half hour or so is intentionally measured – the top-notch enhancing is by Mahesh Narayan, who labored related magic in Nayattu. The script by Sanu, Rajesh Ravi and Arun Janardan, doles out particulars sparingly. Shirley’s father Ittyavira is a cantankerous retired faculty trainer who tried his hand at pig farming however failed and now, like Roy, is in debt. For each Shirley and Roy, it is a second marriage. Shirley’s mom died when she was solely eight and her father single-handedly raised her. However wherever you assume this narrative may go, it doesn’t. And when the twist arrives, it’s so surprising that similar to the character it’s revealed to, you might be additionally shocked into silence.
The sweetness is that each one of this performs out amidst the humdrum rhythms of every day life. There is no such thing as a drama or excessive emotion. Sanu locations his characters in essentially the most routine conditions: they’re making ready meals (each Roy and Ittyavira spend a variety of time within the kitchen) or watching tv, brushing their enamel or just singing a favorite music – Ittyavira is a fan of ‘Yeh raatein, yeh mausam’ from the 1958 movie Dilli ka Thug. Like in Joji, the opposite Malayalam movie by which the pandemic is a palpable presence, right here too many of the motion takes place in a sprawling home with lush inexperienced environment and a pond. The burden of secrets and techniques makes the lockdown much more claustrophobic.
The opposite palpable presence is God. Ittyavira believes that no matter occurs is divine will and that we are able to solely perceive the previous as soon as we arrive on the future. Roy thinks Shirley can sleep soundly as a result of she has religion. Sophie lives with nuns whereas her mother and father work out a strategy to get to her. However Sanu is simply too subtle a storyteller to inform us what to imagine. He’s extra within the workings of minds and hearts. Which finally, in fact, can’t be identified. Characters make unfathomable choices. Like chameleons, they’re additionally changeable – every particular person has his or her fact about another person. The identical particular person is described as a ‘rowdy’ and a saviour. However the script doesn’t enable us to make simplistic judgments about them. Individuals, Sanu appears to say, are as impenetrable because the sphinx.
Aarkkariyam rides on the shoulders of its three glorious actors – Biju Menon as Ittyavira, Parvathy Thiruvothu as Shirley and Sharafudheen as Roy. None of them have huge, actorly moments right here. They’re merely being. However watch how they alter imperceptibly by means of the course of the movie. Particularly Sharafudheen, who goes from an unassuming, good man to somebody extra burdened and complicated.
Watch additionally how Sanu builds an environment of dread in order that bizarre areas in the home change into ominous. And the way he makes use of Sanjay Divecha’s background rating, dominated by an acoustic guitar, to layer the story. Sanu is a celebrated cinematographer who has shot movies reminiscent of Badhaai Ho, Lootcase and the blockbuster Jersey, that includes Nani. As a director his style is extra minimalist. He builds little moments that stick with you – I saved occupied with the blood on the kitchen ground and what it will need to have taken to scrub it.
You possibly can watch Aarkkariyam on Amazon Prime Video.