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Satyan Anthikad is a simple and straightforward chronicler of everyday life. Satyan usually dwells on family-oriented themes and has an uncanny knack for striking a responsive chord.
In his latest film Achuvinte Amma, the ace Malayalam director has come up with a wholesome entertainer that has gone down well with an appreciative audience.
If Achuvinte Amma has done well, a lion's share of the credit should go to actress Urvashi, who has staged a comeback of sorts through this film. In fact, the buzz goes that Satyan had only Urvashi in mind when he decided to direct this film. And the consummate actress has done a fabulous job, fully justifying the confidence the director had reposed in her.
The film devolves on the strong mother-daughter bonds. Satyan has delineated the characters of the mother daughter duo with great care and an eye for the detail. No wonder, the frames are suffused with the warmth of their love for each other.
Vanaja (Urvashi) has come up the hard way in life. Her only priced possession in life is her daughter Achu (Meera Jasmine), whom she has brought up, lavishing affection. The daughter is in fact the apple of her eye. The mother would do just anything to keep her daughter happy. Because she is blessed with a glib tongue, Vanaja works as a "Crorepati" LIC agent. Besides, she is also a good tailor.
Everything goes on smoothly in the mother-daughter wonderland until Achu confronts Vanaja with the one question the latter has always dreaded to hear: who is her father? She shies away every time Achu poses the question by telling one lie or the other. Soon, Achu, who has a diploma in engineering, lands a job in a construction company. As chance would have it, the mother and daughter meet Jijo (Sunil).
Jijo endears himself to the mother-daughter team with his Good Samaritan nature. He is quite an enterprising youngster too. In no time, Achu and Jijo become close friends. Their friendship blossoms into love in the course of time. But, Vanaja, who is highly possessive about her daughter, frowns on the idea of her daughter marrying an orphan, which Jijo is.
Then Achu springs an unpleasant surprise on her when she once again refuses to disclose the identity of the father. An angry Achu walks out on her mother. The remainder of the movie centers round how the mother and daughter cope with the spell of separation.
The film has its distractions as well. The climax is a bit contrived and dragging. A few characters who have nothing to do with the main theme detracts from the tempo of the film. One of them is KPAC Lalitha's character, who is too loud for comfort. Then there is a big Muslim family, the attendant songs and dances, which mar the tightness and cohesiveness of the film.
The first half that way is certainly better, with a lot of comedy scenes featuring the mother and the daughter. They bring down the house literally when Vanaja tries to learn English.
The film could have been better if only it had been trimmed a bit. Music is another letdown, with veteran Ilayaraja unable to impart any freshness to the narrative.
The saving grace of course is Urvashi, who is marvelous in the role of the mother. It is a once-in-a-lifetime role for Urvashi, whose sense of timing in comedy scenes is a treat to watch. She is equally convincing in the scenes where she is required to bring out the anguish and distress of a woman, who has to bear the pangs of separation of her only daughter. No word is good enough to describe Urvashi's quality of acting. It has to be seen to be believed.
Meera's daughter is second only to Urvashi. She is playful, full of pranks and a bundle of mischief as befits her character. The Jasmine looks lovely and slim. A surprise package of the film is Sunil's Jijo. Here is a promising actor in the making who will go far in his career.
All in all, despite some narrative flaws, Achuvinte Amma is an eminently watchable film if only for the standout performance of Urvashi.
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