Sethum Aayiram Pon review: A heartwarming tale of life, death and everything in between
Sethu Aayiram Pon
Director: Anand Ravichandran
Cast: Nivedhithaa Sathish, Srilekha Rajendran and Avinash Raghudevan
Debutant filmmaker Anand Ravichandran’s Sethum Aayiram Pon is a nuanced, heartfelt tribute to ‘oppari’ - the fading art form of mourning the dead, a village tradition. It’s a heartwarming drama that explores the love-hate relationship between a grandmother (Srilekha Rajendran), who firmly believes in her roots, and her granddaughter Meera (Nivedhithaa Sathish), a 23-year-old makeup artiste from the city. The film, without getting melodramatic, talks about the need to keep differences asides when it comes to building and maintaining relationships while talking about life, death and everything in between.
When Meera is called home by her grandmother Krishnaveni to help settle a family squabble, she learns life’s most important lessons while trying to mend a broken relationship. Along the journey, Meera’s transformation from a self-centered, city-bred girl to a caring granddaughter forms the crux of the story. The film is more than just a family drama about Krishnaveni bonding with Meera. As a story, it talks about the need to celebrate death as much as we celebrate life and accept the fact that death is inevitable. There’s a beautiful scene where Krishnaveni talks about death and explains the joy she gets from mourning the dead via her songs.
There isn’t a single dull moment in the film which takes its sweet time to make its point and arrive at the conflict between the lead characters. The scenes and banter between Meera and Krishnaveni makes the film livelier than one can imagine. By keeping their performances natural and authentic, both Nivedhithaa and Srilekha shine in their respective roles and make them memorable. After Sillu Karuppatti, Nivedhithaa walks away with another splendid performance but the film unarguably belongs to Srilekha, who is pitch-perfect as the loud and sarcastic Krishnaveni, with her cheeky sense of humour. Avinash Raghudevan as Kuberan, another key character, is aptly cast in a role that has multiple shades which he brings out in his performance effortlessly.
Sethu Aayiram Pon marks the arrival of a very promising filmmaker. Anand Ravichandran makes one believe that that you need not need a novel plot to make an engrossing film. While paying rich tribute to ‘oppari’, he weaves a beautiful family drama that hits all the right notes and makes one embrace his or her roots.
(Hindustan Times doesn’t use star-rating system in its movie reviews.)
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