The International Movie Review

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Pirivom Santhipom – For family audiences

Posted by harino1 on January 24, 2008

Visalakshi a.k.a. ‘Sala’ (Sneha) is the only daughter in a loving family. She is always amidst her friends and her home is a haven for the girls. Sala is a very homely and introvert girl and loves the tradition and values that come with big joint families, probably due to her being the only child in her family.

Natessan (Cheran), a soft-spoken guy, belongs to a huge and loving Nattukootai Chettiyar family. With his parents, he lives with a hoard of relatives in the form of uncles, aunties, sisters, cousins, niece and nephews, as a joint family. Natessan works with the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), as an Assistant Engineer (AE) as the story begins.

Fate intervenes in the form of an arranged marriage between Natessan and Sala in a big and pompous Chettiyar wedding. Sala is very happy with her new family and all the chatter and commotion that come along while staying in a joint-family. She showers them with gifts and enjoys pleasing them and seeing them happy. But this happiness that Sala is enjoying is very short-lived.

Natessan, who is sick of living in a joint family, gets a much-needed transfer cum promotion to Attakatti, and relishes to spend quality time with his wife. Sala is ripped off her newly-found happiness and the joy of living in a joint family. The story moves on to tell you the overwhelming loneliness that she comes across in this village in a guest house, and how she yearns for someone to be with her, even if it is a lineman from the EB office or a sales lady.

How Natessan comes to terms with the truth about his wife’s illness forms the rest of the story.

Famous Malayalam actor Jayaram portrays an important role in ‘Pirivom… Sandhipom….’ He plays the role of a local doctor and wields the key to unlock the emotional entangle between Natessan and Visalakshi.

Though the film is not a debate on the nuclear or joint family culture, the director has beautifully brought in the importance of relationships in a person’s life. The film also touches the turmoil that a wife undergoes without voicing out her opinions and placing her husband’s likes and dislikes prior to her own, even if it means that she has to suppress her emotions and give up her likings.

There are also some typical ‘filmy’ scenes like the one towards the climax when the nurse comes and says that Sala is getting better right after the doctor (Jayaram) finishes his counseling to the till-now-ignorant Natessan about his wife’s likes and dislikes.

The director has taken extra care in going into the details of the Chettiyar culture, be it in the slang that the characters talk, the palatial homes or the backdrop of the songs. All these provide a visual treat to the audience.

Sneha as Sala has played her part well. She appears very natural and without make-up in most of the scenes, and this adds more beauty to this beautiful and talented actress.

Cheran on his part has done a good job. But it seems like this actor-director has underplayed his part. In most of the scenes he is seen either talking over the phone or working, and one might feel that he has not used his potential to the full extent.

Though Vidyasagar’s songs have not created a whirlwind, there are a couple of pleasant numbers that gel with the story of the film. The song ‘Eruvizhio siragadikkum…’ in particular is a melody and it showcases the rich culture and tradition of the Nattukootai Chettiyar marriages to every detail.

‘Kanja’ Karuppu, M.S. Bhaskar, and team have provided the much-needed comedy interludes to this otherwise-slow paced movie.

One aspect that is worth mentioning is that, this film is a sharp contrast to most of the films that are releasing today. The film has 0% vulgarity and violence. We can, at any point in time, boldly watch ‘Pirivom… Sandhipom….’ with family and kids, without any embarrassment to either.

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