Aarkkariyam (2021) is cinematographer Sanu Varghese’s first outing as a director. Movie revolves around couples Sherly and Roy and their return home after the covid-19 pandemic broke them financially. Sherly’s father Ittiyavara is ready to sell his property for helping them financially but they must overcome an issue with the property in time before selling it. It is one of those slow burners which has mystery and tension looming and doesn’t give anything away even after the climax, unless you give absolutely whole of your attention to the characters and surroundings.
I had my doubts after watching the movie for the first time. So, I had to watch the movie for a second time. This time I have found plenty of additional details which enhanced my overall understanding of the movie and enjoyed the acting of both Parvathy and Biju Menon, both were nothing less than superlative with so many minute details and secrets hidden in them. Just like the real life humans, the characters in the movie does hide so many things behind their face. The character Roy exclaims in one scene, “Augustine was bad for some and good for others, even I may be bad for some. Who knows(Aarkkariyam)?!” We are watching the movie only through Roy when watching for first time and quite naturally we may miss the complexities of these characters just like Roy does.
The screenplay is the hero here, it has situations in the early sequences which is perfectly in sync with the revelations later in the script and incidents in the past. There is not a single scene which gives a dramatic feel and at no point the script will try to spoon feed you with informations. It intentionally doesn’t give away anything and tries to convey the deep lying tensions through small situations, brief pauses and silences, minute expressions of characters.
The script demands a lot from the three main characters as well. Biju Menon is brilliant in portraying Ittiyavara, a character several years elder to him. It is probably a performance which reminded of Nedumudi Venu and his range of acting. I admired and enjoyed Parvathy more in my second watch, for Sherly is a character which keeps everything to herself. Her every minute expression changes, pauses, eye movements have a lot to read into and the actor gives an effortless feeling to those. I felt Sharafudheen was superb for the most parts except for his not-so-confident and misplaced English in some of the dialogues. But apart from that, the characters gave consistent local dialect through out the movie quite remarkably and their exchanges in Hindi also were quite pleasing.
The story takes place in the initial phase of covid-19 and gives us a familiar feel of what we have gone through during those times. Moreover, the whole pandemic situation plays an important role in the narrative. Every not-so-important scenes of the movie were shot quite naturally and with utmost sincerity. For instance, Roy and Sherly driving in tandem during their trip home is one of those natural couple scenes and I felt like it should have gone on forever.
Aarkkariyam turned out to be a splendid wow movie for me and I recommend everyone to give it a second go if you felt the movie is uneventful in the first watch.
For a detailed revisit to the hidden details in the movie, please visit here.
Streaming on : Amazon Prime, Language. : Malayalam