Ammu(Telugu, Amazon Prime)
Written and Directed by Charukesh Sekar
Debutant director Charukesh Sekar’s film is not to be taken lightly. It deep-dives into the disease of domestic violence, and comes up with disturbing images of a dark unspoken tragedy which is sadly the truth behind many seemingly peaceful marriages.
Ammu rips open the happy-home façade , to expose the ugly truth within. A reviewer writing on the film grumbles about the husband Ravi(brilliantly played by Naveen Chandra) taking too long to expose his true colours. Let us disabuse the misconceptions on abuse. Domestic violence emerges with time only. The film with cohesive acumen, lays bare Ravi’s fangs as Ammu settles into domesticity.
Without beating around the bush let’s say it here and now. Aishwarya Lekshmi is a coiled-up powerhouse in this hardhitting ,in more than one, film about abuse and its aftermath. Lekshmi wraps her persona around her character, owning both its pain and guilt, creating a space for the suffering wife that allows her to manoeuvre her way through the marital morass.
In the later part of the narrative the film turns into a marital revenge drama, a Sleeping With The Enemy meets Darlings , and not in a very smooth way. Bobby Simha as a parolee who strikes a rapport with Ammu, is the odd one out. He just doesn’t fit into the scheme of things . The entire parolee subplot is at odds with the context , plot and mood of the rest of the film. If we can move beyond this swing-shift in the narration, Ammu hits home and lands on its feet.
The film is shot beautifully with Apoorva Shaligram’s cinematography delving into the dark side of domesticity . The scenes of violence are not excessively gruesome. What the film focuses on is Ammu’s paranoia : she never knows when the next blow, would come and why. The bond of empathy that Ammu forms with the women around her could have been explored a little more closely.
What remains with us is a film that wants us to empathize with Ammu’s pain but not with her guilt. Her journey from an abused wife to an avenging angel may not be smooth. But the jagged edges in the narration only adds to the feeling of a drama being played out in real life.
Must not be missed.