Ammachi Yemba Nenapu Review: Beautifully crafted adaptation of Vaidehi's stories
This story of women who fight against a patriarchal society is elevated by the confident direction of debutante Champa Shetty and the wonderful performances of the cast
Ammachi Yemba Nenapu is a compilation of short stories written by Vaidehi, whose work Champa Shetty puts forth, painting-like, in her directorial debut. Well-crafted and interwoven with Kundapura culture, the film is set in a bygone era and revolves around women in different stages of their lives, and how they suffer in the hands of men in a patriarchal society. While it is hard to decipher the dialect in certain portions, we are able to piece together the story thanks to the characters.
Cast: Raj B Shetty, Vyajayanti Adiga, Deepika Aradhya, Radhakrishna Urala
For a woman, the struggle and fight begins at home. The narrator tells us about Puttamatte Ajji (Radhakrishna Urala), an elderly woman, her grand-daughter, Ammachi (Vyajayanti Adiga), and Akku (Deepika Aradhya), and their respective lives.
Set against a village backdrop, Puttamatte is widowed at a very young age, leaving her with no choice but to land up with her child at Seshamma’s house. Seshamma hails from an upper cast Brahmin family. Venkappaiah (Raj B Shetty) lives with Puttamatte and Ammachi. Growing up, Venkappaiah starts dominating Ammachi, which does not go down well. A girl with an independent mind, Ammachi dislikes everything about Venkappaiah, and avoids getting trapped by him. But destiny has different plans for her. She has no choice but to marry Venkappaiah and leaves for Tirupathi, where he runs a hotel business. However, she soon returns and gladly announces to her grandmother that Venkappaiah is dead.
Meanwhile, Akku also lives at Seshamma’s house. Abandoned by her husband, she all of a sudden announces that she is pregnant, and her struggles with her family take the film forward.
While the challenge of adapting the book into a film might have been huge, it doesn't show thanks to Champa's deft direction. The first-time director has faithfully followed Vaidehi’s stories. The film is rooted in Kundapura and Champa adds authenticity with the sets, make-up, and body language, as well as the dialect, all of which seem natural. She should also be praised for effectively handling the various characters.
Every artiste in the film deserves applause, whether it is Vyajayanti Adiga, Radhakrishna Urala (a man who plays a woman’s role as Puttamate), Deepika Aradhya, or the host of other actors, who are mostly from a theatre background.
Love or hate the character of Venkappaiah played by Raj B Shetty, you cannot ignore him. He is a very strong part of the story, and stands out with his negative role. The camerawork by Naveen Kumar is brilliant, and Kashinath Pattar provides some soothing medleys and a good background score.
Watching this film is like reading the book and this experiment by Champa makes for a worthwhile watch.