Aattam review: Relevantly Brilliant, One Of The Finest Malayalam Movies In Recent Years
What: Aattam (The Play) - Anand Ekarshi's debut Malayam film attacks the male hypocrisy, greed, desire and the barriers women face in this brilliantly made play within a play within a movie.
Aattam movie synopsis
An after party of a theatre group Arangu at a ‘safe’ place which consists of twelve men and a single woman Anjali (Zarin Shihab) turns into a shocking nightmare for Anjali.
Anjali, complains of being groped by the ‘star’ of the group Hari (Kalabhavan Shajohn). The traumatised Anjali confides in Vinay (Vinay Forrt) an important member of the theatre group and her lover after a week.
Though Anjali does not want to take the matter further, Vinay insists on punishing the culprit and the matter becomes a point of discussion amongst the male members of the theatre group lead by their team leader Madan (Madan Babu).
The team meeting at Madan’s house minus Anjali and Hari to come to a cordial solution exposes male hypocrisy, greed, opportunism, the typical behaviour of men towards issues related to women without having any understanding and the barriers a woman has to face in expressing herself freely in this male dominant society.
A play within a play within a movie that brilliantly performs multiple strikes in one go, attacking the male hypocrisy, greed and desires in a brilliantly written screenplay and free flowing narration that grips you from the beginning till the very end.
Anand Ekarshi's layered storytelling shows an intimate romance between the legendary Akira Kurosava’s Roshomon (1950) and master story teller Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957).
Also, a courtroom drama without a court, Aattam’s strength lies ij its simple and relatable characters that can be anyone we know or ourselves. The way the traits and shades of those twelve men gets revealed spins an unexpected surprise that makes you guessing till he very end.
The winner of the 28th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) awards 2023, the movie achieves its nuances effortlessly in a group discussion that turns sexual assault into a play. The exposure underlines the blatant misogyny, sexism, hypocrisy, selfishness, pseudo mentality, the obsession to be judgemental at the throw of a hat regarding issues involving women.
Another major highlight of Aattam is the way Anjali’s character reacts to the allegations and turns a fighter instead of a victim.
Performance are up to mark by almost every one.
Zarin Shihab leads as Anjali in a striking portrayal tat oozes with confidence and naturality.
Vinay Forrt is excellent
Kalabhavan Shajohn is perfect.
Madan Babu is competent.
Cinematographer Anurudh Aneesh does a magnificent job. Anees Nadodi’s art direction is simple and relatable transporting the viewer into the place where the action is happening. Mahesh Bhuvanend’s sharp editing adds to the brilliance while Basil CJ’s music maintains the atmosphere and the momentum throughout.
People may question the metaphoric/open climax, a touch of sly humour at places would have given the extra edge.
Aattam is a rare cinematic experience that ‘plays’ with your sensibilities relating to women. It probes, questions and acts as a mirror. One of the finest mainstream Mulayam cinemas to come in recent times, Aattam is a must for aficionados of cinema who look for sense and sensibilities in movies.