Appathava Aattaya Pottutanga Movie Review: A no-frills tale about the twilight years
With a runtime of around 100 minutes, Appathava Aattaya Pottutanga is as much a Power Pandi as it is a NadOLDigal (sorry) of sorts
At one point in Appathava Aattaya Pottutanga (AAP), a group of senior citizens gears up to get two of their kind to elope from their homes and get married. I couldn’t help but think of a now-iconic scene from Nadodigal, and director M Stephen Rangaraj too gives a hat-tip to the film. It is hilarious to see the likes of Delhi Ganesh, Kathadi Ramamurthy, Shanmugasundaram and Jeyaroa run in slow-motion to the tune of ‘Shambo Siva Shambo’ and ensure that Chandra Haasan and Sheela are saved from the clutches of their families. Such subversions don’t result in laugh-out-loud moments, but the makers are not exactly going for all-out laughs either. They are happy, causing smiles and the occasional tear.
Cast: Chandra Haasan, Sheela, Delhi Ganesh, Kathadi Ramamurthy
Director: M Stephen Rangaraj
Streaming on: Sony LIV
With a runtime of around 100 minutes, Appathava Aattaya Pottutanga wastes no time in establishing itself as a NadOLDigal (sorry) of sorts. We are shown senior citizens and the second-rate lives they lead in their children’s houses. They are treated shoddily, given superficial respect, and are, well, inconsequential. Kudos to the makers for trying to milk humour and pathos from similar situations, but not all the jokes and sentiment scenes land as intended. However, the presence of the veteran actors in the cast ensures that the comic acts don’t leave us exasperated. Barring a particularly bad sequence involving a peeping tom, the fun quotient is mostly harmless, even if it invokes a feeling of deja vu.
Appathava Aattaya Pottutanga, at its heart, speaks of the neglect of senior citizens. We are shown how parents are sent to old-age homes in their twilight years to fend for themselves. While this isn’t exactly something new in our cinema, the truth is that this is a prevalent issue still. So, can you really deem the concept to be outdated even if some of the tropes are many decades old?
One facet that should have remained in the 80s though, is the vilification of women in the families. When sons don’t take care of parents, the blame is often squarely placed on the daughters-in-law, who are portrayed to be abusive nags. The sons meanwhile are only henpecked. Nevertheless, as the film proceeds, we see the film follow the route perfected by the Visu films of yore. In fact, the late veteran might have been a perfect addition to the cast, and the film could have scored on the nostalgia factor.
A few years back, we saw Dhanush make his directorial debut with Power Pandi, another film that spoke of the importance of parents having a life of their own. Although Appathava Aattaya Pottutanga does touch upon the theme, the onus is put on the children to take good care of their parents. Having seen almost four decades of films suggesting the same with not great results, isn’t it time to see the Rajkirans, Revathys, and the Chandra Haasans in these films, wrest control over their lives? It might be quite refreshing to see them in these stories, look inward and find some self-love.