Cast: Sugumar Shanmugam, R. Raju, Jayalakshmi, SuPa Muthukumar
Director: Priya Krishnaswamy
Music: Ved Nair
Not too often do we watch Tamil films that are about reality in the truest sense. Films that don’t adhere to any commercial mandate, not even captivating frames or beautiful lighting. A raw film that takes you inside its world and makes you feel like you are amongst the people in the frames. Tolet was possibbly the last film that did that (co-incidentally it released on the same day last year) and now we have Priya Krishnaswamy’s Baaram. Real characters, real emotions, and real sound backing a real story.
Karuppusaamy (R Raju) works as a watchman and lives happily with his sister (Jayalakshmi) and affectionate nephews Veera (Sugumar Shanmugam), Muni, and Murugan in a town down South. He meets with an accident outside his workplace, resulting in the dislocation of his hip bone rendering him immobile. His son Senthil (SuPa Muthukumar) who lives away, refuses to help him get a surgery. Instead he takes him to his hometown and euthanises him through the traditional practice of ‘Thalaikoothal’.
There is no guessing how this film is going to travel till the first half. You’re first introduced to Jayalakakshmi’s family that values the importance of kith and kin no matter how distantly related and then you have Sugumar’s family that has an aversion towards relatives. These extremes clearly show you the fate of a broken Karuppusaamy. But that doesn’t make the film tiresome at all. There’s a right play of all the emotions — anger, love, and betrayal which is spruced up by slick editing (by Priya too). And this makes the obvious rocky path a little harder to cross.
Towards the second half, Priya makes a quick shift to the docu-drama format where we find Veera not fighting against the ‘traditional practice’ but rather understanding how it works (there are more than 26 ‘varieties’ apparently) and thereby only educating us about it.
She even reflects on how the press’ voice and sensationalisation of news do no good. There’s no violence, there’s no revenge. There’s no justice either. Just like Karuppusaamy, his family is also betrayed.
Sugumar Shanmugam, the hero of sorts, who also happens to be the casting director has brought in the best actors to reprise all the roles. Right from the old lady who attends to Karuppusaamy to the policeman who twists the case in favour of the politician, everyone is natural onscreen.
Even the missteps in enunciating dialogues work in their favour and don’t seem out of place. The live sound helped enhance the mood of the film, but the music had little effect on the story.
The Baaram review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.