Star Cast: Aishwarya Lekshmi, Naveen Chandra, Bobby Simha, and ensemble.
Director: Charukesh Sekar
What’s Good: A terrific Aishwarya backing a story that we all have seen in different degrees and dynamics.
What’s Bad: The shift from suffering to seeking revenge due to the choice of medium feels a bit bumpy.
Loo Break: If this one makes you uncomfortable, pause and take one but don’t miss anything even if it doesn’t sit right with you.
Watch or Not?: For the sake of a good conversation and an amazing acting performance, you must.
Language: Tamil (with subtitles).
Available On: Amazon Prime Video
Runtime: 136 Minutes
25-year-old Ammu is married to her neighbour who happens to be a police officer. What looks like a perfect marriage on the outside at first turns into a hell that is decorated but still brutal. When Ammu cannot take the domestic violence anymore, she decides to fight back.
Ammu Movie Review: Script Analysis
What defines domestic violence? A slap, abuse, questionable words? We all walk with mirages, mirages of happy marriages broken on the inside but the societal norm forces them to show the non-existent happy side to the world. Charukesh Sekar’s Ammu is a homage to many such mirages and a perspective about how it will look if the victims decides to revolt.
Kind of taking notes from Thappad, Ammu begins with showing ‘look how happy these people are!’ ‘see how slowly and steadily they are falling in love with each day!’ the “I love you” also comes after what feels like months into the marriage. So technically a woman at the age of 25 is married off to a stranger who is only good to her because it’s just the beginning. Does it all sound relatable? Well, writers Sekar & Padmavathi Malladi purposely build a tale that we all have seen. This could be the story of a neighbour, maybe the woman in the house we pass by, or the one that is sitting right next to us in a public transport, or God forbid you.
A good amount of time is invested to create the mirage of a happy marriage, and it all pays off pretty well when the next 2 hours are invested in breaking that. The movie is not an entirely male-hating vehicle, it also zooms in into the conditioning of the female gender where they are told to avoid the red flags by other fellow women. Ammu’s mother is told by her mother that “where else will your husband vent out your anger but in you?” and she passes on the same to her daughter with a modern addition, but still the orthodox touch. There is attention to every detail as to how micro-aggression flags should not be ignored and how women need to stand up for themselves.
Charukesh does a good job of creating a story with minimal characters so the viewer feels the claustrophobia of Ammu’s life and the lack of refuge. But what the script trembled at is the transition of the tone from being victimised to seeking revenge. While rest of it can be thought of happening in the real world, the plot that is laid by Ammu at points feels too over dramatic for a story deep rooted in realness. But then Aishwarya saves the day.
Ammu Movie Review: Star Performance
Aishwarya Lekshmi has channeled every single drop of anger in her body to play this part. There is no trace of her real self at all and many won’t even recognise her in the first 10 minutes from the violent part begins. For an actor who is in every frame of the movie without much fare around her, the spotlight is always on her. Lekshmi does a phenomenal job of making every second of that attention worth. Even her silences say so much.
Naveen Chandra might get many such roles following this one because he is that good. He isn’t just an abusive husband but is also suffering some kind of mental disability. Never put in words, but Chandra makes sure you understand that through his acting.
Ammu Movie Review: Direction, Music
Charukesh Sekar does a good job by not over-stuffing a story that is as personal as this. The attempt to so a police officer travelling from a real prison to a metaphorical every night doing the same on both the places is good. When a man tells a man that you only attack the ones who won’t fight back, you know that the filmmaker is aware of what they are trying to say.
Bharat Shankar’s music is such a key part of this movie. Even in Hindi the songs land well and the BGM is worth giving attention to.
Ammu Movie Review: The Last Word
Ammu is one of the most important movies this year. Aishwarya Lekshmi is in full form and deserves all the attention and so does the story that is relatable and haunting.
Ammu releases on 19 October, 2022.
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For more recommendations, read our Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu Movie Review here.