Aramm (அறம்), starring Nayanthara has got raving reviews for her acting and the contemporary issues that are being highlighted. The film for me, to put it gently – is underwhelming. The story is about how Madhi, an honest district collector leads an operation to save the life of a 4-year-old girl who fell into a deep borewell bit.

The girl hails from a labourer family, and director Gopi Nainar has brought to life the individual characters in the family and portrayed their plight well. In one scene, where the mother is shown collecting firewood along with other labourers, one of her colleagues buys “tea” for everyone to drink – she brings that in a plastic bag along with disposable cups; the director leaves his mark in scenes like this. Ghibran music holds together the sequence of scenes. During the whole rescue mission, Madhi gets external pressure from the media, local MLAs and her own team; she is shown as brushing them aside with little effort – and that’s where the Director has missed an opportunity to present an engaging drama. I was unable to relate to Madhi’s character, who is she as a person? Why is it that she is waking up to people’s plight on that particular day, why not before?

Democracy needs criticisms to hold its representatives accountable, but an anti-establishment narration alone doesn’t make a feature film – there are forms like documentary and TV talk shows meant for that. Kollywood Directors have their hearts in the right place, but they need to improve their craft – as a beginning, they can watch films like The Seal Of The Sun (2016) which shows the Fukushima (Japan) nuclear meltdown.

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