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Aarkkariyam, With Biju Menon, Parvathy, And Sharafudheen, Is A Slow Burn Drama That Asks Big Questions

Aarkkariyam, With Biju Menon, Parvathy, And Sharafudheen, Is A Slow-Burn Drama That Asks Big Questions

Director: Sanu John Varughese

Cast Biju Menon, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sharafudheen

Could we really know someone? Not Biju Menon’s Chaachan in Aarkkariyam, which is a slow-burn meditation on what it really means to believe in life (or God). Sherley (Parvathy Thiruvothu) and Roy (Sharafudheen) are stuck during the lockdown at her father’s home. It looks like Chaachan is far more sinister than he seems, especially for Roy. From this perspective, Aarkkariyam is a drama around a confession: what if Georgekutty from Drishyam told his unsuspecting younger daughter everything about the coverup? One could get away with murder, but how to explain it to one’s family? 

Aarkkariyam is also a bit like you walked into a whodunnit after it had been solved and forgotten about. In a thriller, Chaachan’s big reveal to Roy (about his Munnariyippu-like moment) wouldn’t have been so muted, as if they were talking about the cricket score. The drama refuses to become a thriller. The pleasant-sounding guitar score continues as if everything we have known about Chaachan hasn’t just changed. The film takes a detached attitude to it’s characters. It doesn’t judge, and conveys a detailed impression about the small world of Sherley, Chaachan, and Roy.

Space and sound are used to immerse us in the film’s world. At the beginning, Sherley and Roy are in close spaces (rooms or cars) when they’re occupied by domestic and financial problems. As their problems are solved by Chaachan, we see Roy outdoors, exploring. You hear sounds you would only if you were standing very close to the characters. In a scene, Chaachan is speaking on the phone and the birds around him are as loud as him. It’s as if nothing is edited or stylized. You’re led to believe you’re looking at raw footage. A sense of real-ness is built up.

Director Sanu John Varughese allows us to get used to these characters and their mannerisms: like, say, the way Parvathy’s Sherley says ‘no’ as if it were a dismissal. So, it’s difficult to think objectively about them. It’s like you can’t be indifferent to a person sitting next to you in a bus after speaking to them for ten minutes. Which is exactly Roy’s problem with Chaachan. Chaachan is going to solve his financial problems and that prevents him from judging Chaachan objectively. 

There’s another instance in which the film feels to us like something a particular might be feeling during an episode. As Roy is trying to make his mind up about Chaachan, the unhurried pace of the scenes reflect the tedium in his mind, as he strains his mind towards a resolution. 

Aarkkariyam shows not just how the lockdown throws three lives into chaos but also asks heavy-duty questions: how do we know that something is true? Are memories even real? If everything is made inevitable by god or destiny, wouldn’t everything become meaningless? But the film keeps its investigations light. It hints at contradictions like how you can can do something evil and still believe it was preordained by god, but never fully explains them. Nor does it even try. Because, you know: Aarkkariyam (Who knows)It’s an unfinished puzzle with missing pieces. 

The post Aarkkariyam, With Biju Menon, Parvathy, And Sharafudheen, Is A Slow Burn Drama That Asks Big Questions appeared first on Film Companion.



source https://www.filmcompanion.in/reviews/malayalam-review/aarkkariyam-movie-review-malayalam-a-slow-burn-drama-that-asks-big-questions-parvathy-sharafudheen-biju-menon/
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