Film: Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha

Director: Rajesh Abraham

Cast: Nadia Moithu, Prathap Pothen, Lena, Lakshmi Rai, Shamna Kasim, Narain

There are women-centric films and then there are those which masquerade as them. Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha undoubtedly belongs to the second category. From the misleading title to the murder mystery which looks like a piece from some other jigsaw, the film is a parade of the commonplace and a test of patience. The badly choreographed ‘wannabe’ hep song which kicks off the proceedings and which brings together all the women involved, gives one a warning of what is to follow.

Chachi Moothedan (Zarina Wahab) is the matriarch of a super rich family which owns, among other things, a television channel, headed by her son-in-law Alex Paul (Prathap Pothen). Alex’s wife Rose (Nadia Moithu) is someone who sacrificed her dreams of becoming a basketball player and now wants to fulfil those dreams through her daughter Anju (Umang Jain), a tennis player.

The film, while claiming to be about the six women, situates them around Alex who ends up being the focus of the film. Of course, a major part is also hogged by the near-comical tennis matches and by Rose’s friendship with Sreekumar (Narain), but it all ends up channelling towards Alex’s escapades with other women, especially Cyns (Ria).

A recent trend in Malayalam cinema has been to take refuge in Facebook to fill up huge holes in the script. Yes, the characters spend all their time on social networks which the makers might perhaps claim to be a reflection of contemporary reality. Take out the iPhones and Facebook from the film and you will end up with a product which is half the length of the original. This is not an argument against the creative use of these avenues. Most notable in the category is the 1990s classic You’ve got mail ’ which came out at a time when e-mail was getting popular. But it becomes a problem when these are used as meaningless props.

The film gives frequent showers of token messages on women empowerment. Also dished out is a public service message on women entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, Alex hooks up with women through Facebook and wins an Asian media award. At every point, the viewer is left confused as to what the film is trying to convey. ‘Escapades of a middle aged Casanova’ would have been a more suitable title for the film.

S.R. Praveen