There are times when we feel, we have to stand-up for something, some job or someone so that we don't lose the battle because of naysayers. We have to also fo it because it is our job or we can also say our destiny to do so. When do we feel such need? Why do we do so and what if we are pushed to lose? How can we triumph?
Nayantara's latest Tamil dubbed release Kartavyam is an answer for all those questions. A similarly named movie, with 90's star heroine, Vijayashanthi, who earned a name of Lady Amitabh after movie release, is quite popular still in some sections of audiences but can this movie be compared to such strong solo- lady lead movie? Could Nayantara be as mesmerising as she always is?
In a village, near by Rocket launching station, Vempadu, drought has struck so hard that people did not see rain drops for more than 6 years. The lands are dry and the major occupation of agriculture is slowly shifting to daily labour. In such a village, Bullabbayi (Ramachandran Durairaj) and Sumathi (Sunu Lakshmi) have two kids who are too young and their aspirations are limited too.
While their son is a potentially good swimmer, who can take up swimming as his career option, is asked by his father to not think about it. His sister, Dhansika (Mahalakshmi) is too young for any aspirations. One day, she falls into a bore well, that has been dug up some years ago and was never closed up, even though people requested the owner, a local corporator. Madhu Varshini (Nayantara) a local collector, who is going for an event, changes her plan and reaches the spot immediately. What happens next? Will the young Dhansika be saved? If she can be saved will our political system accept it? Watch the movie for answers to these interesting questions.
The movie belongs to Ramachandran Durairaj and Sunu Lakshmi more than Nayantara. They are the emotional core of the story and their performances are really brilliant. As a family, that is working hard for their daily life and are completely oppressed to even have dreams they bring out their best and make us believe in them as the family who is really stuck in that situation.
Nayantara as a towering screen presence in this movie as Collector, Madhuvarshini. She is designed on par with Amma Jayalalitha in her attire and more popularly, attitude as well. But there is no enough material to define her as a character completely. Still, Nayantara makes us believe that she is the alternative to all that is bad in our society and political system.
All other actors add to the authenticity of the village setting and give their best possible performances. Even young kids, Mahalakshmi, Vignesh and Ramesh, give commendable performances here.
The film depends on art work to make it authentic and also, Cinematography, to keep it real and interesting. It is hard for a mainstream film to not cater to star status of a lead, but the film doesn't try to deviate too much. Om Prakash, Cinematographer, should be appreciated for coming up with the ways to elevate the set created by Art department and make everything in the film look completely authentic.
Editor Ruben, could have done away with few scenes but in a crisp tight one event film, that is stretched out for 2 hours, we cannot expect him to do much more than that. Still, few edits here and there, could have been tightened up. Few choice of close-ups did not add up to the overall impact as well. Still, this is one of his better jobs in recent years.
The film has only place for back ground score and songs that elevate the situation as montages. Ghibran used the premise well and delivered a clean back ground score that elevates the situation.
Gopi Nainar, the Writer-Director, has been sweeping the awards season for Tamil movies as the best director and the movie, Arramm, original Tamil title of this one, is being celebrated as an achievement for Tamil Cinema. While it deserves all the praise for its authenticity, the script seems too cinematic after a point of time. The satire starts diluting a bit too early and until, the last act, sometimes the movie drags on, so that the pay off needs to be strong and also, after a fixed length of time, to make it a feature film.
Other than that, the movie writing is good. The execution even though not the very best but better than films that with similar budget fail to create an authentic environment for people to believe. The shots are used effectively here to let us know and understand what is happening. There are few scenes that are just added to delay the climax pay off and few that try to elevate Nayantara's character in the situation. Those seem a bit forcibly attached to the original idea at scripting stage after knowing the cast, but it is one of the well-made and better-written films that deserves all the praise it is garnering.
The movie is more like a reality bite. A plot so close to our daily life that if the collector is not played by Nayantara, you can believe that we are watching a documentary film of a news item, showing us what happened to a 6 year old kid, who fell in a 130 feet deep bore well and got stuck at 93 feet.
Even though it asks us to be patient, it doesn't feel like a boring exercise. It asks us to think about such situations and also look forward to solutions as we are able to send rockets to find water on Moon and other planets, but are unable to find water on earth, on daily basis. It cracks and presents the irony well but may be the film needed a bit more action than preaching towards the end. With all the flaws intact, impact of the movie is solid due to its writing and this film is highly recommended for its emotional subject and crude reflection of reality.