Addham Movie Review: An anthology that falls short of expectations
The three-episode anthology starring Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Prasanna, Rohini Molleti, and Kishore fails to utilise its interesting premise and characters
Addham is a three-episode anthology made predominantly by Tamil writers and technicians for Aha. Its trailer, to be sure, exuded a heavy-duty feel, especially as its theme read, "Morality is a changing goalpost." Writer Siva Ananth, who has also directed an episode, has done a neat job with his limited resources. Sarjun KM and Barath Neelakantan are the other two directors.
Cast: Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Prasanna, Rohini Molleti, Kishore
Director: Siva Ananth, Barath Neelakantan and Sarjun KM
Streaming On: Aha
The anthology has a novel-like feel that is too strong to shake off. Take Crossroads, directed by Barath Neelakantan, for example. Prasanna's character wants to sleep with a call girl after his seemingly irredeemable wife throws a nasty insult at him. At the bar, he accidentally bumps into a beautiful, soft-spoken woman (Pavithra Marimuthu), with whom he strikes an instant conversation believing that she is the call girl he is supposed to spend the night with.
As the duo gets immersed in the chat, talking about perception and impression, they also philosophise on atheism and cynicism. Doesn't all this feel a bit pretentious? A mature-sounding, unmarried bartender interjects his happy life-discoveries conveniently. The episode had the potential to deliver a sucker punch, given that the somewhat distraught husband's inferiority complex comes off subtly and other such rewarding experiences are delivered without much fuss. But it doesn't quite deliver.
In The Road That Never Ends, helmed by Sarjun KM, the talented multilingual actor Jayaprakash plays a lorry driver who nearly runs over a depressed, below-average student named Kumar (Praveen), who runs away from his home. Moments later, his wife (Rohini Molleti) enters the scene after a game-changing event. The boy, who has got big-city dreams, is confronted with a dilemma after stealing a big amount of money from the lorry driver.
This segment is impressive. But, somehow, the wife's behaviour with the boy looks old-fashioned if not contrived. Showing her as an emotionally indifferent and weathered woman would probably have been more touching.
Of the three stories, The Unwhisperable Secret, featuring Varalaxmi Sarathkumar and Kishore, stands out in terms of the thrill it offers. Ram (Kishore), a guilt-ridden businessman, is unable to make peace with his past, where he was involved in a hit-and-run case. Dr Shruti (Varalaxmi), a medical counsellor, listens to his ordeal and becomes too involved in the case. This leads her to make a morally tough decision that can potentially alter the course of her client's life. Minus the uncreative conversations between the doctor and her husband (Arjun Chidambaram), this segment makes the viewer ask 'What next?' until the last minute.
Editor Sreekar Prasad's work is able. The sequencing of the stories is alright. But, overall, Addham falls short of capitalising on interesting premises and characters.