Director: V.C. Abhilash
Cast: Indrans, Sreekanth Menon, Vishnu Agasthya, Sameera
Director: V.C. Abhilash
If you are in the practice of taking back with you one image of all that you have seen in a movie, and that image pops up whenever you think Aalorukkam, it is quite likely going to have Indrans in it — sitting on a wheelchair or walking around in Thullal costume or just staring out of a hospital window on lonely nights. The last is mine. It is difficult to imagine a frame without Indrans, even when other significant characters are all around him, even when he goes nearly mute in the last half of the movie — the exact opposite of the first half when as an old man found fallen on a road, the staff and the patients of a hospital find him to be a humorous, talkative and interesting chap with a sad tale.
He has come in search of his missing son, who as a lad had left home after an argument with his dad, 16 years ago. “I must have said something wrong. I didn’t like his new friendships,” Indrans as Pappu Pisharody says. Wheeled around by a young nurse or a bystander, he chats merrily with the young Seetha doctor, who ropes in her journalist friend (Vishnu Agasthya) to find the lost son. A policeman too tags along. As the search brings results, Pappu Pisharody is in for a shock. Revealing it would be a spoiler for the movie, but with the state award coming to Indrans for his role, the gist has been pretty much out there.
The son has turned into a woman, with a family. And here, Sreekanth Menon does exceptionally well. Transgender characters in Malayalam movies are sometimes so exaggerated or made a mockery of, that Sajeevan turning into Priyanka with her colourful saris and motherly expressions is quite a relief. You forget there is any issue here, as you should, and Abhilash has done an exceptional job here to make it so. Avoiding the tiring old stereotypes.
Pappu of course doesn’t find it so — very natural for a 75-year-old man living with his old ways, seeing a woman instead of the son he had raised with his Sarojini. Indrans, like he does with every other serious character, seems to do this one with ease. But there is obviously a lot of hard work behind it, learning an art form entirely new to him. It doesn’t seem too exceptional only because he has always been such a lovely actor. Every other actor — the son’s partner (Shaji John), the little daughter (Baby Threya), the doctor (Sameera) and every new face — delivers lines so easily, flowing into the scene that nothing looks out of place or unnecessary; a mark of lovely scripting and editing here, and sensible selection of cast.
Music flows through the movie, perhaps a tad too much, in the background and then as a song in the later half. Ronnie Raphael has put a ‘naadan’ folk touch to a song that makes Pappu reflect. He thinks too through the lovely shot of a rainy night when the son appears like in a dream, like a premonition. The movie questions without really asking if his love is large enough to accept. And perhaps that is as much a question to society as it is to Pappu....