Movie: Aruvi (English: Waterfall)
Category: New Age Indian Film Industry
Cast: Aditi Balan, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy
Director: Arun Prabu Purushothaman
Music: Bindhu Malini, Vedanth Bharadwaj
Before we get to reviewing this movie, I have to make a few confessions for you as a reader to understand my take on this one. A – I am unfamiliar with the language Tamil and I have entirely relied on subtitles provided by Amazon to understand the movie and B – I am a woman, so do expect a bit of uncalled empathy from my inner self towards woman centric movies. Okay, now that we have the presumptions out-of-the-way let’s get to the point.
Aruvi is a hard-hitting, tear-shredding, amazingly entertaining, fantastically written dark comedy full of twists and turns. Trust you me, this one hits you so hard that one has to wonder are we really living with these set of thoughts in the twenty-first century. The movie is full of social messages, dark jokes, choking junctures and simple moments in relationships. There are no grand costumes, no foreign locations, no hero-heroine typical thingy but yet this ones so entertaining from the word GO that you seldom want to take any breaks while watching the movie!
Aruvi is the story of a girl who is brought up in a very conventional Tamil household surrounded by loving set of parents and an adoring younger brother. Circumstances lead her parents to throw her out of the house and go through a series of reality checks in the outside world. What she does with the limited resources at her disposal and how she makes her life choices to shape her life story into a unique and inexpungible experience is what the movie is all about.
Story telling is an art and the director proves this by letting out Aruvi’s life stories in bits and pieces. He lets the audience put together the puzzle of Aruvi’s life and allows you to feel accomplished as a viewer that you have indeed solved this puzzle. As complicated as it may sound, the story is really simple. However the treatment to the story is so amazingly well written and even well-directed, it leaves you in awe of the sheer brilliance of the director. It is hard to believe that this is the director’s debut movie, I definitely look forward to his next one.
The performances are so real, it’s almost as if you are watching someone live their real life on camera. Aruvi(Aditi Balan) has poured her heart soul into the character, she is a likable rebel with a cause who pulls off being a simple girl with swag. Her costumes are so simple and real that you almost instantly connect with her kurtas and shawls. You’ve definitely worn one of them while growing up. Be it her reactions to her brother wishing her with a cake on her birthday at midnight or cussing her mother when she manipulates her brother – the emotions are so poignant, it definitely will ache your heart. Aruvi is by far one of the strongest female characters one has seen in recent times. She subtly questions your way of living, your plans of growing old and your idea of fun with such austerity that your brains start evaluating your life choices. But most importantly she sends out a very important social message which will shake you to the core.
Aruvi’s friendship with Emily(Anjali Varadhan) who is a transgender is another highlight of the movie. The take on their friendship is unique and refreshing, it definitely breaks your stereotypical thinking over the transgender community. All of us needs an Emily in our lives for sure.
The ensembles of the movie have done a fantastic job, be it the arrogant selfish director who wants to make money out of Aruvi’s story by encasing on her emotions on reality TV show or Peter who genuinely wants to help Aruvi but is stuck between his emotions and his career, they all make you want to believe in their characters. A special shout out to Lakshmi Gopalswamy who plays the host of the reality show, she is so full of drama that you instantly hate and love her at the same time.
Overall the movie is full of highs and lows, laughter and tears, reality and abstractions. It is something you seldom get to see in a movie.
I wouldn’t want to classify this one as an offbeat or an art film. Just watch it for the sheer experience of watching a brilliantly directed movie full of realistic performances and a fresh take on a simple story. Highly recommended!