Mumbai, 05 May 2017 13:39 IST
With a theme dealing with the problem of immigrants, health and the supernatural, Enga Amma Rani is a laudable attempt at good cinema.
Director Bani’s Enga Amma Rani is different from the routine fare in Tamil cinema in more ways than one and is an attempt at good cinema. First, the story is set in Malaysia. It is not often that you find almost an entire Tamil film shot in another country. Next, it showcases the travails of an immigrant woman who is trying desperately to find her missing husband. Third, it talks about a unique health problem that affects her twin children. Finally, it showcases the supreme sacrifice a mother can make for her child. As if all these weren’t enough, the film deals with the supernatural.
The film begins with the mother (Dhansika) of identical twins, running from pillar to post in Malaysia to try and locate her husband who went missing during an assignment in neighbouring Cambodia. With her husband’s firm offering little help, our immigrant heroine approaches the Indian high commission in Kuala Lumpur, only to be asked why she and her husband, Indian nationals, chose to come to Malaysia to get married. She explains they were in love and got married against the wishes of their families back in India. After all his questions are answered, the official promises to do all he can to find her husband but tells her to also file another complaint with the embassy in Phnom Penh.
While she struggles, her children, anxious for their father, begin to get worried. To keep them cheerful, she puts on a brave face. But trouble keeps pouring in. Her visa and children’s visas are about to expire and can only be renewed on her husband’s return. She also needs a job.
Before she can find a solution to these problems, she loses a child in tragic circumstances. The death of the child adds to the prevailing gloom and triggers a war of words between her family members and her husband’s family members back home in India.
Even as she is yet to recover from the shock of losing her child, the mother learns that her child died of a rare disease. What is more, her second child is afflicted with the same disease. On her doctor's advice, she moves her child to a colder region in Malaysia, only for a spirit to possess the child. This development turns out to be both a curse and a blessing. What happens next defines the film.
Director Bani seems to have carefully picked certain social issues that he wishes to highlight and has intelligently woven them into the story. More importantly, what sets him and his film apart is that he, at no point, indulges in a blame game for any of the developments that take place in his story.
Another laudable aspect of the film is that Bani manages to keep the audience guessing. The random developments make it quite a challenge for the audience, and that works in the film's favour.
Dhansika as the mother of two does a fantastic job. She looks the part and plays the role to perfection. Her performance is one of the film’s biggest strengths. Talking of strengths, one is reminded of the work of cinematographers A Kumaran and SR Santhosh Kumar. They have showcased the beauty of Malaysia in this film. The third biggest strength is Ilayaraja’s background score, which enhances the impact of the film.
On the flip side, the story moves at a slow pace. This is especially so in the beginning. But on the whole, the effort by this team is worth taking note of.