Appatha, the 700th film of Urvashi, directed by ace filmmaker Priyadarshan is not a film that is going to have a memorable slot in the director’s filmography. But for Urvashi, the movie will be a testament to the fact that she can add life to even the most predictable and weak scripts with her scintillating performance. Clocking under two hours, the new Jio Cinema release Appatha is an okay entertainer with no surprises.
Kannamma, an elderly woman in this rural village in Tamil Nadu, is our central character. The pickle she makes is very famous, and she is providing a better life for many women through the business of pickles. The movie Appatha focuses on her journey to Chennai to meet her son and family. Her time there and the evolution of her equation with her son’s pet dog Zeus is what we see in Appatha.
It’s that standard package of glorifying traditional values by caricaturing modern viewpoints. When the whole equation between Appatha and her son is revealed to us, Priyadarshan gives us a feeling that the movie will be that emotional ride where you will see the son and his family consistently avoiding Appatha. But when the dog is introduced into the plot, the ace director uses his usual way of lifting scenes, and a seemingly sweet and feel-good drama suddenly turns into this slapstick comedy fiesta, which neither suited the story nor had the novelty to impress us.
Urvashi is just outstanding in the way she flows in being that character. How she transitions from being an empathetic soul to this loud and taunting typical granny is just fabulous. Even when the drama tones of the writing are pretty unreal, she makes that transition look extremely believable through her voice modulation. Amit Bhargav as the son is pretty forgettable as the writing of that character had this forceful way of making him an insensitive guy.
In the early portions of the movie, Madhu Ambat captures the beauty of the village with all the greenery and landscapes, and there is that feeling of airiness. As I said, there is that sense of being this goodness package when the story is happening in the village. When the idea shifts to the city, you get to see a lot of underwhelming cliches. I think even Priyadarshan knows that the movie feels pretty dry with just Appatha and the pet dog Zeus. What happens after that is a mix of scenes that they might have rejected while making Home Alone movies. A food jar is thrown out of a window, a dining table gets broken (Ironically, nobody addressed that later), a fan gets fallen from the seeling, and a bathroom pipe gets broken, flooding the entire apartment. If this much slapstick wasn’t enough, Priyadarshan creates this flat association secretary character to include some more physical comedy; some of them will remind you of movies like Punjabi House.
There are some predictable movies with a very formulaic approach, and Appatha belongs to that category. The competition that happens in the climax and the way Kannamma becomes this big sensation all kind of expose the laziness in writing to conclude the tale. Appatha is that watch-laugh-and-forget type of entertainer with a brilliant Urvashi, without whom the movie would have been a disaster.
Appatha is that watch-laugh-and-forget type of entertainer with a brilliant Urvashi, without whom the movie would have been a disaster.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended