Even without a complex storyline or overdramatic ups and downs, Abhiyum Naanum engages you. Writer-director Radha Mohan pays careful attention the story telling from the very first frame. The selection of an isolated high range area as a backdrop at times makes you feel there is nobody else in Raghuram’s world besides his wife and daughter and that is exactly what the director wants to convey. Raghu’s business life or Abhi’s school friends are never shown in this film. It is in such a microscopic world that suddenly a battalion of a Sikh family enters. This generates an uneasiness in the second half of the movie compared to the closed and smooth first half. Here again, the insecurity Raghu faces regarding his daughter’s travel, her staying out of home and her marriage are nothing unusual from what any father normally experiences. But what makes it special is the way the situations have been handled. The film scores in its treatment though it must be said funny dialogues like “T Rajendran invented Amala!” and “Singh will come alone.”, all need a bit of Tamil root to understand. Unfortunately however, the portrayal of the Sikh community does not go beyond the standard balle balle caricatures.
So we have Raghuram (Prakash Raj) narrating his story to a young father (Prithviraj) as he sees him playing with his small child in a park. Raghuram, a tea estate owner, lives with his wife, Anu (Aishwarya) and daughter, Abhi (Trisha) and is extremely sensistive and possessive about Abhi. From childhood itself, he has been overprotective about her. But by the time Abhi is in her teens, she makes it clear she knows what she is doing. Half-heartedly, Raghuram agrees to send her to study MBA in Delhi but gets a shock when she returns home with a sardar boyfriend, Joginder Singh (Ganesh Venkatraman), in tow…
Starting right from his daughter’s birth, through small incidents, the film convincingly brings out Raghuram’s overprotective nature towards her even as his wife advises him not to get panicky and analyse matters calmly. The funny sequences of Raghuram’s preparation for an interview regarding his daughter’s nursery admissions sharply fingerpoints the existing farce educational system. The sympathetic nature of the little Abhi is revealed as we see the ten year old Abhi bringing home a beggar who was wandering near her school. She requests her father for his protection. The beggar becomes a part of the family from that day on and starts considering Abhi as his mother! On another occasion, the college going Abhi even partly undresses her father in the middle of the road to cover up the nudity of a young female beggar, with his shirt. The father is proud of his daughter’s such acts as he believes she is different from other girls of the same age. In fact, it is a warm friendship the duo share. When Abhi gets her first love letter, she consults her father and not the mother. The sensible father advises her to ignore such things saying she being a beautiful girl, will be facing more such situations in future.
The director, Radha Mohan, beautifully depicts the complexity in the father’s character. On one hand, Raghu appears as a sophisticated father but on crucial occasions he is possessive and selfish. The other layering of the story exposes the humanitarian outlook of his son-in-law, who is supporting sardar families who have lost their loved ones. The sardar boy’s behaviour influences the father’s best friend as he, too, decides to adopt a child.
Prakash Raj and Trisha’s performances are commendable and flawless. They have an onscreen chemistry that is nice to see and the heartwarming father-daughter relationship, so crucial to the film’s story, works becasue of them. Aishwarya’s character as a mother stands out for the kind of voice modulation she has adapted for this film. Ganesh Venkatraman as the sardar boyfriend and Kumaravelu as the adopted beggar lend perfect support.
On the techncial side, Preetha’s camera work is a soothing experience. It is a challenge for any cameraman to match the exterior scenic beauty of a hill range with the indoor scenes, and it has to be said that Preetha has more than delivered. The film has got interesting melodies and the background score is appropriate to the story and mood of the film.
Radha Mohan as a director had already proved himself a good storyteller earlier with Mozhi.Abhiyum Naanum too is definitely an interesting and engaging film to watch.
Tamil, Drama, Color