While watching Aanum Pennum, the colors of Kerala and the greenery of Kerala are seen, many scenes like earthen houses, coconut trees, pictures of coconuts being cut on a rag, chutney on a cobweb or grinding rice of dosa settle in the mind. The first story “Savitri” is written by Santhosh Aichickannan and directed by Jay K. By. This sensitive film was not expected from this director who made a super natural thriller (Ezra). The story takes place after the British Raj when communist leaders in Kerala intensified the politics of rebellion and the local police were after them. In the film, Kochu Paru (Sanyukta Menon) plays a comrade who runs away from the police and starts working as a maid in the house of a businessman (Joju George). The businessman, who helps the police, wants to coerce Kochu. The story is short but there is a relaxing feeling in filming it and at the same time the manner in which the communists are depicted prevents it from getting cumbersome. The Kathakali performance follows the story of Keechaka’s slaughter with Kochu Paru’s senior comrade teaching a lesson to the businessman and the story reaches the right end. The film looks good.
The second story is of Rachiyamma (Parvati Thiruvotu) who turns into a milk seller who falls in love with the manager of the tea garden. The story of the film is based on a short novel written by renowned author Urub in 1969. Director Venu is a very senior cinematographer and sometimes directs films. So far 4 National Awards have been given. A founding member of the Indian Society of Cinematographers, Venu’s action-adventure film Karbonn was well received and he is considered the favorite cinematographer of directors like Mani Kaul. The beauty of Rachiyamma lies in the existence of her story written 50 years ago. Parvati’s acting is amazing and the character she played as an independent business girl is as relevant today as it used to be. Giving money to people and then collecting them on the way and then leaving their interest knowing the truth or making fun of people about his character and not paying any attention to him, it can be seen as such till today. Rachiyamma’s love story remains incomplete and after 11 years she meets her lover again, even then there is no difference in her values and this is the victory of this story. We may not get to see such characters around now, but such rumors and acts with a single working woman seem to be happening in this way even today. This film, showing the mirror to the society, is very different and very beautiful.
The third and last film is ‘Rani’ based on the story of famous writer Unni and directed by well-known director Aashiq Abu. It’s a very sweet story. The mental conflict between the college-student Rani (Darshana Rajendran) and her boyfriend (Roshan Mathew). Boyfriend, refusing to take Rani at any cost and taking her to a secluded area, wants to have a physical relationship with her. For this, by adopting all kinds of tactics in the conversation, he prepares the queen to go with him. Rani’s state of mind in the film is of a whole new kind. She doesn’t care that someone will see her with her boyfriend. She doesn’t care in what way her boyfriend is trying to persuade her. The ending of the film is very touching. The train of thoughts that come to the boyfriend’s mind in front of the queen, ready to make a relationship, is the end of a very different kind. The twist that has been placed in the story is the backbone of this story and Darshana’s acting is the soul of this film.
All the three stories in total affect very much in their own place. Some unanswered questions remain. In the first story, why Savitri makes a relationship with the merchant son of her own free will, that mystery is not solved. The communists, caste system, feudalism and police atrocities are depicted in such a brutal manner which does not match the ending of the film. On the other hand, Rachiyamma waits for her lover for so long and why does the lover remain in a dilemma till the end when both of them like each other. The sudden departure of the lover from the estate also hurts a little. This love story could have been good but it lacked a bit of relevance. In the third film, the whole film seems very dwarf in front of Rani’s innocence and determination. The way her boyfriend’s state of mind is depicted seems a bit strange.
The cinematography of all three films Suresh Rajan (Savitri), Venu (Rachiamma) and Sheju Khalid (Rani) is absolutely top-notch. Very few cinematographers can do the work of speeding up films in Hindi films. They should learn by watching this anthology.
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