There are just a handful of filmmakers in our industry who makes films with socially responsible thoughts, reflecting the primary issues in our society. Samuthirakani is one among them. His recent directorial ‘Appaa’ is about 3 fathers – Dhayalan (Samuthirakani), Singamperumal (Thambi Ramaiah) and Nadunilaiyan (Namo Narayana) with dissimilar mentality & approach towards their kids and the way they are raised.
‘Appaa’ is much similar to ‘Saattai’, since both the films talk primarily about our ways of parenting and the current education system; but ‘Appaa’ is much better in many aspects including the way it is presented.
‘Appaa’ is not a flawless film definitely, but it does serve its purpose aptly keeping in mind its target audience. The film has a lot of hard-hitting scenes resembling a number of incidents that happen among us every day; referring the playschool admission scene and many other scenes where the kids are asked to do a project work on Taj Mahal, the scene where Dhayalan asks his queries honestly in the parents meeting. There are some memorable moment such as where Dhayalan makes his son befriend a girl. The dialogues are good at most scenes such as ‘Paiyanoda ethirkaalam school’kitta illa, paiyan’kitta irukku’, ‘Ellaarume 100 mark edukkanum na, yaaru dhan 80 mark 90 mark ellaam edukkuradhu?’, ‘Unga paiyan padippula mattum dhan sir first, Vaazhkkaiyila zero’, ‘Ponnunga namma ethirpaalinam, avlodhan… Namakku adichaa valikkura maadhiriye, avangalukkum valikkum’, ‘Sondhakaaranunga ellaam summaa… kooda irukkavan ellaam kashtappattutte irukkanum, ivanunga advice pannitte irukkanum’. Richard M Nathan has done a commendable work in cinematography.
On the flip side, ‘Appaa’ gets too preachy over a point of time and the emotions turns to be unrealistic; there are a lot of overdone emotions and many scenes of overacting from the lead actors to junior artists. When we see the actors advising someone or everyone with so many pages of dialogues in every other scene, we doubt if we are at a film or a parents counselling session. Also, there are ample scenes with exaggerations and stereotyping within the core concept (scenes such as the Headmaster asks Dhayalan harshly, if he is a Naxalite). The frequently seen dramatic moments kills the film’s authenticity and the reach of the message it conveys, to a larger extent. If filmed in a better manner, the scenes of Dhayalan’s son’s Guinness record and Nadunilaiyaan’s son’s book release would have been much impactful! Another biggest minus point of ‘Appaa’ is the songs and background score by ‘Maestro’ Ilaiyaraja, which is a major let-down.
Regardless of all the above said minuses, films like ‘Appaa’ are so indispensable for our society where we read the news of suicides in schools & colleges very often and we hear of 15 to 20 ‘Kalvi Thandhais’ in every city. The film is a MUST WATCH for all parents and kids, which has a solid message to take home!
Bottom-line: A film that is less of story and content, but more of messages and counsels. But still, a much-needed movie of the hour. MUST WATCH FOR ALL PARENTS!
Review by: Rahman
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