Samsaaram Aarogyathinu Haanikaram Review

Balaji Mohan's 'Samsaram Arogyathinu Haanikaram' tells a tale set on an imaginary hillscape by the name of Thenmala. It's here that Aravind (Dulquer Salman), a door-to-door sales executive meets Anjana (Nazriya Nazim), a young doctor all ready to tie the knot. It isn't the most pleasant of times, what with a mysterious illness called H10N10 wreaking havoc on public lives. Very soon, the entire population is petrified when research proves that the disease spreads through conversation, leading the government to impose a speech ban in the hamlet.

Here is a director who has done the unthinkable by venturing into virgin territory, and the fantasy element that he brings in, is without doubt one that deserves appreciation. And he goes even further and renders his characters voiceless in the latter half, which is indeed the biggest gamble that any film maker has attempted in recent times.

The stillness and the hush that reigns in the latter half is more of a challenge to the viewer, used to an incessant and deafening verbal onslaught almost all the time. However, it does have something fascinating for the more tolerant ones, and the flair of the film maker becomes all too apparent on more than a few occasions.

But the contradictions that are prevalent throughout make you wonder what the film maker must have originally had in mind, while crafting the film. Like many a viewer out there, I had developed a special liking for what the film was trying to put across in the former half - that a talkative mouth often inadvertently serves as a devil's den.

And then the experimental bit is thrown at us -as Balaji Mohan presses the Mute button, everything and everyone around springs into actor mode, with a non-intrusive musical score blowing away in the background. And it's here that the first pebble in the rice grinds against your tooth, as the film starts talking the exact opposite of what it has been conveying till then.

Surprisingly, all the major issues on show are solved when silence prevails. For one, there is the money lender who loses his dhoti to his grandson and discovers a lost love for his son, and there is also Anjali who in a lip bound moment unearths the real affection that her step mother holds within. No words are spoken. Contrastingly, when Aravind's best buddy regains his lost voice, the choicest of expletives stream out of his mouth, with his nurse lady love dropping her first aid tray and his heart in the process.

When everyone around has found their voices, Anjana vehemently states that she has had it up to her neck with her possessive, egoistic, chauvinist fiance and shows him the door. Breezing into Aravind's room she confesses that the new light that shines in her world is courtesy the positive bundle that Aravind is. She agrees that he had always been right - that there isn't a problem in this world that cannot be solved through straight, face to face talk.

It is thus that the film goes round and round in circles, refusing to adopt a stand of its own, repeatedly confusing us with its ever changing perspectives. At the end of it all, one is never sure if it's pro-conversation or anti-conversation, since it's neither here nor there. On the other hand, it's all over the place.

It should be mentioned that the several sub-plots that take up a major chunk of the running time are feebly written, and ultimately fail to deliver the goods. The altercation between a drunkards' association and an actor's fan club might have been incorporated to bring in some laughter, but very rarely serve the purpose.

Dulquer fits into the role of Aravind with a remarkable ease and together with Nazriya who looks ethereally beautiful, makes a charming pair. Soundara Pandyan's stunning cinematography and Sean Roldan's musical score (especially in the latter half) deserve a very special mention.

'Samsaram Arogyathinu Haanikaram' is a classic example of a fine idea having gone up in smoke. This is a film that should have been much better and yet ends up barely more than a live-action cartoon.

'Samsaram Arogyathinu Haanikaram' is a classic example of a fine idea having gone up in smoke. This is a film that should have been much better and yet ends up barely more than a live-action cartoon. (2.2) - Veeyen