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Review Tamil

Sethum Aayiram Pon review: Nuanced tale of love-hate relationship between a woman and her granddaughter

Release Date: 03 Dec 2020

Cinestaan Rating

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Suyog Zore

Directed by first-time filmmaker Anand Ravichandran, Sethum Aayiram Pon is a heartwarming piece of cinema about the simple lives of small-towners.

Meera (Nivedhithaa Sathish), a make-up artist in the Tamil film industry, returns to her hometown to meet her grandmother after many years. The last time she had been there, she was all of five. All these years she has been harbouring an antipathy towards her grandmother because of an old family feud. Her grandmother, Krishnaveni (Srilekha), earns her daily living by singing Oppari mourning songs, a village tradition.

Writer-director Anand Ravichandran takes this simple plot and weaves a beautiful, heartwarming tale of a love-hate relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter. Their initial inhibitions and how they slowly come to terms with the past and the present are shown subtly without melodrama.

The languid pace of Sethum Aayiram Pon is a reflection of the lives of the villagers. The village doesn’t have proper transport and faces power cuts for up to 12 hours a day. The only cellular tower collapsed a few months ago which means they are practically cut off from the rest of the world. Like the villagers, the director is in no hurry and takes his own sweet time to arrive at the main conflict.

The banter between Meera and Krishnaveni is the highlight of the film. Both actresses do an excellent job, keeping their acts natural and authentic. Nivedhithaa pulls off the transformation of her character but the show stealer of the film is Srilekha. Her performance as the loud and sarcastic Krishnaveni is a treat for cinema aficionados.

Kuberan, played by Avinash Raghudevan, is another key character in the film. Kuberan applies make-up to dead bodies before they are taken to perform the last rites. It’s his family business and he considers himself a great artist until Meera arrives.

Gabrella Sellus and Nivedhithaa Sathish in a scene from the film

Though the screenplay moves at a slow pace, it never bothers you because the interactions among the characters are interesting and have an undercurrent of humour. Even the person or team that did the subtitles deserves praise for successfully bringing forth the humour of the original dialogues.

The director's prowess is seen from the first scene itself when he pulls off a stellar six-minute-long single-take scene which also works as an introduction for certain characters who are later revealed to be key to the plot. 

Special mention should be made of cinematographer Manikantan Krishnamachari for his excellent camera work.

Sethum Aayiram Pon proves that one does not need a novel plot or a fast pace to make an engrossing film.

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