It is still a Monday and a start of a new week and with the major weekend releases out of the way, it does give me an opportunity to scout for some good content. With that I finished watching the new Tamil film Ayothi which is now streaming on Zee5. I just happened to stumble on this film and I had absolutely no idea about what it had to offer. Like the Telugu Film Industry, The Tamil Film Industry also is known to produce little gems which are far away from the commercial space. Every time when there is an effort made to tell a humane tale, and something rooted to reality, things have always worked for the Tamil Film Industry. And one such example is Ayothi!
It was in 2017 that I had lost my grandma and that day in June was probably the worst in my life. I remember the turn of events that day almost as it was yesterday. I had just reached office and I did get the dreaded news post which I had to reach her place. And that journey of an hour was probably the worst in my life wherein I felt just emotionless. I had no one to talk to and just didn’t know how to emote. And why I am suddenly narrating this incident is because Ayothi does deal with the concept of death and the events surrounding it. And it is one of the most emotional films in recent times, something that I plan to elaborate in my review, so stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Ayothi follows the story of a family who does travel from Ayodhya to Rameswaram for a spiritual trip until tragedy strikes. What happens next? The story here is heartwarming and an emotional tear-jerker to the core. I can’t remember the last time that I was crying right throughout the film. The screenplay here standing at a shade under 2 hours does make for an emotionally compelling watch in this rather layered drama.
The drama does open with the introduction of the family featuring a grumpy and a misogynist father who doesn’t treat his wife and children with any kind of affection. The children are particularly closer to their mother who is really affectionate and heartwarming. One day, the spiritual trip is planned by the father and on their way, the conflict in the drama is introduced through a tragedy. A thing to note is that this drama combines two drastically different cultures here with the point of discussion being the language. So the language barrier here is very well addressed. At the same time, the writers do put out a message that despite the language barrier, it is humanity that is the common thread amongst all and that even unknown strangers can act as angels in our lives.
The proceedings are engaging and very emotional. One thing that the drama was spot on with was the emotional quotient here. The writing did enough to generate a lot of emotions which kind of left you hollow from within. The events revolving around death and the procedures that follow are very well showcased in the drama. And to add to it, there is a sense of urgency that is introduced by adding a time factor thereby keeping the drama time bound. And the events are grounded and seem just so believable that I found myself weeping inconsolably while watching the drama. Just the sheer sense of emotions here following the tragedy is enough to touch your heart and how!
I did have a couple of issues but very minor ones in the screenplay. The opening introduction act of the protagonist getting into a brawl was done to make you form opinions about him early on. But it did feel misplaced to an extent. Even the police station sequence with a convict breaking into a dance does come at a point when the emotions are high and so that sequence does add as a roadblock to an extent. But to compensate for that, the drama does touch upon a few concepts of belief along with several logistical issues that one has to undergo regarding death. It may have been slightly oversimplified and rushed but the emotions land perfectly.
The final act too may seem slightly far fetched but it was just beautifully staged that almost did coax me into shedding a tear. And that little reveal at the end added a new layer to the drama in a very good way. The final messaging at the end of humanity helping humanity irreslective of caste, creed or religion in times of need was such a relevant message in today’s times. Overall, the screenplay is beautifully penned and as a result you are witness to one of the most emotional dramas of recent times.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are very well penned and they touch upon all the right notes for a lasting impact. The music in particular the second song when the family is on their way to the airport is just so heartwrenching that it shall make you weep. The BGM has a tinge of melancholy with its notes and enhances the emotional quotient of the drama at several places. The cinematography and editing are decent here. Director R Manthira Moorthy does a magnificent job here in telling a genuinely heartwarming take in the most emotional manner. His direction does shine while tackling with the right kind of emotions that did overlook some of the minor flaws in the writing. His direction is excellent here.
The performances are excellent here. Pugazh as Pandi has his moments to shine and is quite sincere in his performance. Anju Asrani as Janaki is really heartwarming in her performance and she does a great job here. Yashpal Sharma as Balram is that one character that has a beautiful character arc. He is someone that you would completely repel to, due to his antics to a point that it would anger you. Yet at the end, the transformation does make you shed a tear. And it was an excellent performance by the veteran actor. Preethi Asrani as Shivani is wonderfully understated and has such expressive eyes. She is on point with the emotions of her character in what is a brilliant performance. M. Sasikumar (concealing his name to avoid spoilers) delivers such a heartwarming performance in such a towering role. He is brilliant to the core and just so natural onscreen.
Ayothi is one of the most emotional tear-jerkers of recent times that comes with my highest recommendation. Available on Zee5 and Highly Recommended!