Verdict: A mind-blowing performance by Manju Warrier, Aami makes you fall in love with Madhavikutty all over again.
Produced under the banner Reel & Real Cinema, Kamal’s Aami, the biopic, traverses through the life of Malayalam’s most celebrated and controversial writer, Madhavikutty/Kamala Surayya. Manju Warrier as Aami takes the movie through the times where Madhavikutty was tortured for writing about woman’s sexuality and her life before and after it. With Murali Gopy, Tovino Thomas, Anoop Menon and Vinayaprasad as the supporting cast, the movie takes you smoothly through the roller coaster ride that Aami’s life was.
WHAT’S AAMI ABOUT:
Aami is about the woman that Kamala Das was. Kamala hailing from the family of writers and poets, who loved Kerala, her grandmother and the ‘Neermadalam’ in her ancestral home, gets married at a tender age of 15 to Madhav Das (Murali Gopi), a 35-year-old matured government officer. Though he cares for her and understands her, Kamala (Manju Warrier) realizes that his love for her is negligible compared to what she holds for him. This makes her feel depressed, eventually making her write novels and autobiography which become controversial for its portrayal of her sexual desires and relationships. However, she is accepted by a good part of the society, making her one of the most loved writers in Malayalam literature. After her husband’s demise, she meets Akbar Ali (Anoop Menon) who makes her curious about Islam. Though a strong believer of Krishna (Tovino Thomas), Aami converts to Islam in her late 60’s which creates a lot of agitation in the Hindu-Muslim society and also in her life. The movie is about her journey from Kamala Das to Kamala Surayya, her feelings and emotions.
Madhu Neelakandan captures the beauty of Kamala, Kerala, Kolkata, and Mumbai beautifully. The color grading deserves a special mention. Since the movie traverses from 1930s to 2000s, every minute detail including the vehicles, costumes, language and house interiors are placed with absolute care and nothing falls out of place. The score by Bijipal also goes well with the period mentioned. Manju portrays the pain and anguish of Aami really well. Aami’s relation with Krishna has been created beautifully. Murali Gopi is a treat to watch. The music by M Jayachandran and Taufiq Qureshi is excellent. Kamal plays it safe by not hurting any political or religious sentiments.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
The movie lags a bit at times. There are many small and prominent actors throughout the movie, but apart from a few, we don't get to see the others as much. Some characters seem vague and you fail to understand their significance in the movie or Aami’s life. The screenplay and dialogues seem a bit dramatic at times.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS MOVIE:
If you are a fan of the writer Madhavikutty or are curious to know her life, Aami is for you. Even if you do not know much about her, this is still a good story of a crazy, brave woman who defied the social norms and followed her heart.
– Devisree Jayakumari