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Review by : Behindwoods Review Board

Starring: Jayaprakash, Viji Chandrasekhar, Uma Padmanabhan, Rajee Vijayasarathy
Direction: Lakshmi Ramakrishnan
Music: K
Production: A. V. Anoop
Cinematography: AN. Shanmugasundaram
Editing: Kishore Te.
Subtitles: Rekhs


It seems to be the season of ‘women power’. First it was Sridevi and Gauri Shinde in English Vinglish and now it is Viji Chandrashekar and Lakshmy Ramakrishnan in Aarohanam. Viji was noted for her cherubic performance as Rajnikanth’s sister in Thillu Mullu. Aarohanam unravels the performer in her, reminding the audience about her sister Saritha’s histrionics in her heydays.

Lakshmy should be lauded for taking a serious subject in her very first film and handling with such fine sensitivity. Aarohanam, in the Carnatic music parlance, is the ascending of swaras which is analogous to the upswings in the life of the protagonist Nirmala, played by Viji Chandrashekar. 

We fail to appreciate people around us inadvertently but realize our foible sometimes too late to make even worthy amends. No human being is perfect and despite these imperfections, we should attempt to find a positive note; this is the crux of Aarohanam. To convey this, Lakshmy tells the story of Nirmala, a vegetable vendor who raises her kids single handedly after her husband deserts her. 

When it comes to human emotions and the gossamer fine feelings, somehow women directors seem to be doing a good job and Lakshmy is no exception either. Positivity and a non-judgmental approach are the highlights in Aarohanam. It does not scare the audience or give a negative connotation to mental illness and mentions about famous bi-polar affected people like Van Gogh, Abraham Lincoln, and Agatha Christie to convey an optimistic note. Nevertheless, if the director’s intentions are to create awareness about issues like bipolar disorder among the lower strata of people, the doctor should have communicated in Tamil to realize the objective.  

Having said that, Aarohanam does not sermonize. The film records the happenings in a day in a lower middle class household when the mother goes missing and the son and daughter are on her trail. 

The unfolding of Vijee’s character happens in bits and pieces and it reaches a crescendo in the Thappattam song. The movie travels at a pace that is appropriate for such flicks and the juxtaposition of present and past tell us about the character of the protagonist. But will the pace be acceptable for the bigger section of the audience, is something only time would answer. 

There is also no societal or territorial bias as regards human nature and that’s why high society woman like Rajee Vijaysarathy are portrayed as someone with conscience and a heart who takes it upon her to give the necessary care to Vijee. When Rajee says there is stress and depression in everyone’s lives and it’s just the levels of normalcy vary, we cannot agree any further.  However, you wonder about the presence of characters of Jayaprakash and Kavithalaya Krishnan as they do not contribute to the film in any which way. 

For Vijee, this is an author-backed role which she delivers with a lot of understanding and maturity. Its tight rope walking for this actress with wide expressive eyes and a slip here and a sway there would have rendered a different color to her character. The mood swings of Nirmala are finely brought out by Vijee. 

In the supporting cast, director Marimuthu as the husband of Nirmala and Jai Quehini as her daughter acquit themselves well. Viresh as the son does not look natural and his performance appears inhibited in few frames. Uma Padmanabhan, Rajee Vijaysarathy, Jaiprakash, Kavithalaya Krishnan and Sampath play supporting roles with ease. 

K’s music is in sync with the script and the lyrics convey more about Nirmala’s character. Commercial elements are a casualty in Aarohanam and if someone is looking for such features, it may not be the right choice. Summing it up, Lakshmy Ramakrishnan can be proud of her debut film which is for a matured and niche audience.

Verdict: Might not be made for everyone, nevertheless, a great attempt by Lakshmy !

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