Aanum Pennum, the new anthology film directed by Venu, Aashiq Abu, and Jay K, is an uneven mix of impactful stories that has its moments sporadically. Every story here is about a woman who showed more guts and character than the men in their world. But the portrayal of that strength varied in each movie, which eventually becomes the scale for judging these short movies.
Savithri, directed by Jay K and written by Santosh Aechikkanam, is perhaps my least favorite story out of the three. The story is set in the post-independence era where the feudal system is seeing its last days. When reservations and related topics are resurfacing in the social dialogue, a story like Savithri has significance. But the writing here has its limitations. It does point out the flaws and horrors of those days, but all of that felt guessable. Samyukhtha Menon and Joju George delivered believable performances for sure, but the end product lacked the firepower it demanded.
Rachiyamma by Venu was the most beautiful segment in the anthology. It’s a character that imparts a sense of energy very instantaneously. Rachiyamma was a character who was totally fearless in an era where patriarchy was rarely questioned. Her replies to certain questions are simple yet powerful. Parvathy carries the charm of Rachiyamma through that dialect and body language. The shift in the performance in that climax conversation was delicate and beautiful. Director Venu, who has done the cinematography as well, maintains a pleasant texture to the whole story. Asif Ali portrayed the insecurities of a conventional family man without making it look gimmicky.
The Aashiq Abu segment Rani, written by Unni R, is a tale that has a mildly ambiguous ending. Somewhere the basic idea of the movie reminded me of Anuraj Manohar’s Ishq. It’s actually about that fear inside the so-called macho men and how insecure they are in expressing themselves. The boy in the story wants to have an intimate private time with his girlfriend, and the girlfriend also wishes to have that time with him. But the thing is that he is so much worried about external judgment. Throughout the story, one can see the girl constantly questioning the boy whenever he tries to make the whole arrangement secretive. And the climax sort of shows the extreme version of that debate between the two.
Roshan Mathew was good at being that society concerned opportunist boyfriend. I think he should consider doing some humor-oriented films because the subtle variations in his expressions were so funny. Darshana Rajendran, as the gutsy girlfriend, made the character a believable one. The casting of Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Nedumudi Venu felt like a solid image breaker. Aashiq Abu realistically narrates the story, and somewhere I felt the punch on pseudo morality wasn’t hard enough.
My favorite among the three stories was Rachiyamma. The character’s vibrance and sadness had a peculiar and memorable charm. It was like seeing something that is pleasant and unsettling at the same time. The boldness with which Rani’s story was narrated was appreciable. But as I said, the intensity was slightly off. And when it comes to Savithri, the production design and the performances were all good, but the narration felt flat and outdated.
Every story here is about a woman who showed more guts and character than the men in their world. But the portrayal of that strength varied in each movie.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended