Aachar & Co. from PRK Productionsattempts to cash in on the power of nostalgia. Set in the Bengaluru of the 1960s and 70s, it tells the tale of Madhusudhan Aachar (Ashok), a civil engineer, and his 10 children.
The film, directed by Sindhu Sreenivasa Murthy, is mostly confined to the house of the big family. The nostalgic aspect doesn’t go beyond basic details like parents’ obsession with a government job for men and how they prefer marriage over education for women. The director doesn’t offer a glimpse of the geographical and cultural specialties of the city during that period.
Characters don’t drive the film forward. They are just part of a story that’s in a hurry to cover several plot points. Hence, we don’t get to root for anybody on screen. The first half focuses on Madhusudhan, who is your typical patriarch. He doesn’t believe in treating his children as adults and wants them to follow in his footsteps.
Just as we warm up to the character, he is eliminated from the plot, and the spotlight falls on Suma (Sindhu). The sudden shift of attention upsets the film’s rhythm. Suma is a 10th fail who is fascinated about marriage. In an idea that gets repetitive, she pesters her brother (a measured Harishil Koushik) to get her married to someone settled in London, as that’s her dream.
Aachar & Co. (Kannada)
Again, the film’s decent flow gets disrupted when Suma’s brother perishes in an accident. Sindhu doesn’t invest much in her character as well. Suma transforms into a driving force for the family, busting the stereotype of a man running the house. She moves on from the idea of marriage and finds a purpose in life. Despite a noble idea, this portion lacks the emotional punch due to the hurried filmmaking.
Aachar & Co. stays clear of melodrama. Even if it doesn’t visually please us with the Bengaluru of old, the film maintains a nostalgic mood thanks to its technical department. Rangayana Raghu’s witty narration keeps us somewhat curious about the proceedings, while Bindhumalini’s two songs — Bengaluru’s Suprabatha, and the light-hearted Pickle Song — nicely complement the period setting of the movie.
Anirudh Acharya, as one of the brothers aspiring to be an actor, is the film’s best performer. Despite playing a one-note character, he stands out with his comic timing. The script, written by Sindhu and Kanan Gill, isn’t ambitious, except for two scenes that deal with strong conflicts and champion independent, career-oriented mindset of women.
Aachar & Co. is a harmless film, but it’s hard to dismiss the fact that it exists without a bigger purpose. Even if small in scale, it could have offered us the excitement of watching a period drama on the big screen with solid writing.
Aachar & Co. is being promoted as a film to be watched with your grandparents. It remains to be seen if the gentle old folks will really make the trip to cinema halls for a nostalgia trip or not.
Aachar & Co. is currently running in theatres