Appuchi Gramam is not ‘science fiction’. While the posters and trailer might show a brilliant meteor shower; in reality, it is just a tale of a village thrust into an extraordinary situation. A village with its own share of quirks, a lot of love and war…and a little science. A village called Appuchi Gramam, whose residents are as wacky as its name.
The movie introduces us to the faces in the village in its own quirky way. A woman leans in closer to the camera, narrates the tale of the warring headmen – who also happen to be brothers – and whispers conspiratorially, in a charming rustic tongue.
Naa sonnennu sollidatheenga.
A volley of faces follows. There’s the headman’s daughter and her meek boyfriend; the miser and his family, who, despite having a full granary, are always clad in rags; the alcoholic, the lone mother, the dancer, the bumbling village fool… we see snatches of everyday life, and idyllic countryside…with its bulky CRT television sets and tuned radios.
The charming aspect of the movie is perhaps the elderly matriarch of the village (a la Charlie Frost from 2012). And, one of the most fascinating shots in the film belong to her – a brilliant, brilliant reflection of the meteor shower – in all its glory – on her owlish spectacles. She sits perched atop a small hillock overlooking the hamlet, surveying her kinfolk. There’s nothing beyond her, for she’s omniscient. She foresees the great calamity that’s about to befall the town – an impending doom – and advises her sons – the village headmen – to hold a thiruvizha.
They cower before her, nodding meekly.
Also, she adds by way of greeting, addressing one of them, didn’t you fall in the bathroom yesterday?
Yes, she’s that omniscient.
Appuchi Gramam begins with the countdown to a supposed meteor shower. There are flashes of ISRO, Periyar Science and Technology Centre, and a stream of scientists flitting in and out of both places, a sheaf of papers in hand. They are discussing a meteor – “as large as Chengalpattu” – that is about to strike the earth – more specifically, Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, the village wears a deserted look, the town-folk are huddled in their homes; some clutching their favourite deity while others crouch under beds…as armour against a meteor shower.
There is a little Saivam, a little Mundasuppatti (a stray meteorite is adorned with flowers and turmeric, and worshipped – hilarious this), and a lot of fiction.
Not much science, though.
The Appuchi Gramam review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.