Cast: Aditi Balan, Anjali Varadhan, Lakshmi Gopalswami
Direction: Arun Prabhu Purushothaman
2017 has been a great year for Tamil cinema, especially for debutant filmmakers who’ve been backed up by big banners such as Dream Warrior Pictures and by the audience who’ve welcomed films by stars as well as those starring newbies with open hands. Aruvi, which is one of the last few films to grace the screens this year is probably the cherry on top of the cake.
For starters, Aruvi is the story of a person – named Aruvi, and not a film about her. The difference is inevitably obvious when seeing it as, a story – unlike a film – isn’t perfect. Aruvi, the girl, isn’t perfect and that’s what makes Aruvi, the film, perfect. And while we’re at the name, Aruvi can represent umpteen things that can be related to the movie, the free flow of the water, the fall from top to bottom, making an impression wherever it fell. The characteristics of a waterfall are exactly the same as our character Aruvi (played by Aditi Balan in a stellar debut).
The reason why Aruvi is also a fantastic launchpad for its director Arun is many and one of that is his non-linear screenplay. A number of things happen to our titular character in the first 30 mins and she even reaches the doorstep of a reality TV show in order to get her justice. But when we get to know her true motive, the reveal of the bigger picture is even more shocking. Talking about the TV show scene, it actually consumes half the film’s runtime, but trust me, you wouldn’t mind it at all, considering it’s got its own set of emotions overflowing that includes betrayal, fun, laughter, innocence, irony, bigotry and much more. Incidentally, these are also the emotions we get to see in Aruvi as we see her from being a kid to a mid-20s adult.
The dialogues too are strong but it’s delivered in an as-a-matter-of-fact manner and is never preachy. But thanks to the scene it’s being delivered in, the impact certainly exists. Considering the topic at hand, the dialogues could’ve been more than preachy – a government campaign at the most, but the maker has threaded a line by sticking to realism. The lines make fun of everything in our society, right from a top film star to how even watching a film isn’t a joke anymore. It makes fun of society itself, to be honest, and that’s one of the countless reasons why the film is relatable. On the technical front, Raymond Derrick Crasta’s editing is top notch and so is Shelley Calist’s cinematography. Bindhu Malini and Vedanth Bharadwaj’s music travels with the story like a faithful companion and is never out of sync with the happenings.
The biggest success of the film is their casting. Almost everyone is a new face and that makes us see them as characters and not actors. And they’ve lived as their characters I must say. Be it Aruvi’s bestie Emily, the show host, its director, his assistant director, its participants and even the office boy and the watchman, everyone looks picture perfect in their roles. And oh, did I mention about the faceless cameraman who goes ‘rolllllling saar’ every time the director says action?
On the whole, Aruvi is an experience that you got to drench yourself in. And don’t worry if an aruvi falls down your cheek while walking out of the theatre – you wouldn’t be the only one!
My rating: 4/5