"Aarkkariyam", the directorial debut of Sanu Varghese, is about the human tendency of finding an aegis in God and outreaching peace. The 126-minute long movie is built on pillars of human relations composed of differences, constraints and conflicts.
Iitiyavara, the protagonist played by Biju Menon, is a 73-year-old widower who resides in Pala. As a devout Christian, he trusts that any event of life is an act of God. Shirley, his daughter, played by Parvathy Thiruvothu, similar to her father in several aspects, too, has an affirmed faith in God. She lives in Mumbai with her husband Roy, played by Sharafudheen, a calm man with pacifist instincts. Biju Menon, Parvathy Thiruvothu and Sharafudheen have portrayed their respective characters beautifully. Vyshak, played by Saiju Kurup, a friend of Roy in Mumbai, adds spice to the plot and balances the story. Kurup carries the accent and mannerism of an anxious Mumbai Malayali organically.
The movie earns pace subtly when Shirley and Roy arrive at Pala, Shirley's native home, during the Covid-19 pandemic and succeeds to lock us down with the trio at their residence. "Aarkkariyam", as the name refers, is full of questions rather than answers. The twist in the plot has been fluidly depicted without any artificial friction.
Relationships between characters have a well-defined vicinity in the movie. Shirley and Roy, Shirley and Chachan (Ittiyavara), Shirley and daughter Sophie, Chachan and Roy, Roy and Sophie, Roy and Vyshakh share relationship bonds with varying frequencies. The most interesting and bewildering connection is between Chachan and Roy. They share an equation of similarities initially but later identifies contrast in themselves. As the movie progresses, Roy and Chachan find a conjecture to unite again.
The relationship of the couple breaks the stereotype. Roy is a person who struggles to find answers and make decisions, whereas his wife Shirley is an expeditious problem solver. Shirley sorts out things and shows the courage to confront situations, but Roy fails to deal with emotional stress and succumbs to his cluttered thoughts.
G Sreenivas Reddy, the cinematographer, has captured the movie at utmost tranquillity. The perfect detailing in each shot is appreciable. While the script by director Sanu Varghese and co-script writers Arun Janardhanan and Rajesh Ravi is a shaft of the impeccable details in the movie, Mahesh Narayan's edits enhance its tenderness.
'Chiramabhayame', the only song in the movie by Neha Nair and Yakzan Gary Pereira, wonderfully communicates the intensity of the proximity between the characters. The background score by Sanjay Divecha is the icing on the cake; the acoustic guitar imparts the intense mood of the movie and elevates the natural travel of the shots. Paying justice to its title, answers are left to the viewer's discretion.