Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum (2019)
Directed by Vasanth S Sai, Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum (சிவரஞ்சனியும் இன்னும் சில பெண்களும்) had already won accolades when it premiered at several film festivals around the world. This is an anthology of three strong women from different time periods navigating individually their lives against odds. The characters have been derived from the works of famous Tamil writers Ashokamitran, Adhavan and Jeyamohan. It is heartening to see these unconventional films getting a wide audience through OTT platforms. SISP is available on Sony Liv and gets my Ripe rating.
The first story happens in the 1980s; Saraswati is a docile wife ill-treated by her husband, suddenly getting the courage to question him and then brave up to face the consequences. Kalieswari Srinivasan brings out the poverty, the anguish and the pain of Saraswati through her subtle acting, she was brilliant. Karunakaran has played well in the scene where he, as the husband is shaken to the core when he encounters for the first time the protest from Saraswati.
The second story is from early 2000; Parvathy Thiruvothu as Devaki is a confident woman living happily with her loving husband. One day an innocent issue gets blown out of proportion by the members of the joint family and Devaki feels all alone. She is confronted between choosing her self-esteem or marriage. I liked the way, the director has used a young boy of the family to be the catalyst for the happenings and also as the observer of the events. For decades, bold female characters in Tamil Cinema reminded the audience of Revathi‘s role in Pudhumai Penn (1984) or Suhasini‘s character in Manathil Urudhi Vendum (1987), while Devaki is a shorter story compared to them, it joins them proudly due to its artful presentation.
The last happens in recent years. A young and talented sportsperson, Sivaranjini while still in college is married off by her father following the tradition in their community. In a few months, motherhood happens to end her sports aspirations. Many years later she is reminded of what she has lost and tries to rediscover her past. Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli as Sivaranjini has truly lived the character of a quintessential housewife in South India – her mornings are an expert act of multitasking – getting up early she has to help her husband to get ready for his office, wake up and feed the kid(s) to school, take care of her ageing mother-in-law and also prepare food for the family and herself on time. One day realising she has missed packing the lunchbox for her young daughter, Sivaranjini sprints off from her apartment – with only the focus of catching the school bus and not mindful that she is in her nightgown, Sivaranjini is seen running like a bullet and in that sequence, Lakshmi Priyaa has given an intense and dazzling performance, kudos to her.
Don’t miss this little gem from Kollywood. A round of applause to director Vasanth for making this film.