Bonded, yet free

Film: Ozhimuri

Cast: Lal, Mallika. Swetha Menon, Bhavana, Asif Ali

Director: Madhupal

A set of people at crossroads of history and relationships. A dialect lending them voice and character. And a region steeped in tradition stands witness to all. Ozhimuri is a candid account of old Travancore, as much as it is about the institution of marriage, and family, as we understand them. The movie tells us how man-woman relationships and the institution of marriage evolved over three generations.

After Thalappavu , director Madhupal comes out with yet another power-filled plot that guarantees to satisfy anybody with an interest in history, especially that of the princely state of Travancore and its matriarchal past. Taking a step further, Ozhimuri also raises fundamental questions about the roles we play. As lover, spouse and even as a child. It tells to your face the indisputable role of money — property rights in those days — in the making and breaking of relationships.

Opening to the vibrant hues of rituals in southern Kerala and Tamil Nadu, parts of the erstwhile Travancore, the movie soon finds its way to the nuances of a divorce case, known in that part of the world as Ozhimuri. This narrative of separation is also about the bonds that we create in order to sustain ourselves — the crude, materialistic, insecure threads with which human beings fasten themselves with the rest.

The movie is based on the writings of popular Tamil author Jeyamohan.

It is realistic and the cast have given their best to retain its rawness. Swetha Menon as the authoritative matriarch, Lal representing two eras, and Mallika as a docile wife first and the self-recognising woman later, are brilliant, with ample support from Bhavana and Asif Ali.

Jeyamohan’s title song takes us to an unexplored milieu, with Bijipal setting the tune. Art director Cyril Kuruvila and cinematographer Alagappan have captured the essence of Ozhimuri. A few scenes where Bhavana and Asif Ali talk, apparently to present us with the background, look like a documentary, but are pardonable when one looks back as the final credits roll.

In Ozhimuri , roots do beckon, but the journey is only forward.

Rasmi Binoy

Ozhimuri is a candid account of old Travancore, as much as it is about the institution of marriage.

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