Banner: North Star
Cast: Nayanthara Ramachandran Durairaj, Sunu Lakshmi, Vignesh, Ramesh, Mahalakshmi and others
Action: Peter Hein
Cinematography: Om Prakash
Producers: Sharrath Marar - R Ravindran
Written and direction: Gopi Nainar
Release date: March 16, 2018
Nayanthara is now the lady superstar in Kollywood. She is delivering big hits in Tamil mostly with lady-oriented subjects. "Karthavyam" is her latest film, which was released in Tamil as "Aramm".
Let's find out if the hard-hitting story will appeal to the audiences here...
Madhu Varshini (Nayanthara), is a committed collector, who does not fear politicians in doing well for the people. She walks the talk. When she comes to know that a girl Dhansika (Mahalaxmi) falls in a bore-well in her district, she takes up the challenge to rescue her.
Can she succeed in her operation as odds overweigh the chances?
Nayanthara is pillar of this story. In the film she doesn't have to do fights or sing songs, or romance a hero. Her star power is required to carry this message-oriented story. She has understood the script well and has given required performance perfectly.
The film belongs to small actors who have played the role of a poor couple, the girl who falls into bore-well, her brother and the villagers. Everyone has given natural performances.
Cinematographer has captured the barren land well and used innovative camera setups to create tension as most of the movie happens at one place. Art direction needs special mention.
Ghibran's background scores elevate the mood. Telugu dialogues should have been better though. Screenplay is excellent.
Story and narration
The tense moments
First thirty minutes
We frequently hear the news of small kids falling in uncapped bore wells in rural India. Telugu states have witnessed many such tragic incidents. Some kids were safely rescued, some couldn't survive through. Many would have felt frustrated why governments fails to cap the unused bore wells. Such criminal negligence is costing lives.
Tamil director Gopi Nainar saw a plot to be explored in these incidents and made "Aramm" with Nayanthara in the lead role. "Karthavyam" is the Telugu dubbed version of "Aramm".
The subject can become a good docudrama but for a feature film, it needs a star power to hold it. Hence, he brought in Nayanthara. There is no scope for Nayanthara to appear till the interval in this story but it would not work out commercially. Hence, the director has used narrative device of Nayanthara being interrogated by her seniors about the bore-well incident.
The director begins the story with a collector played by Nayanthara narrating the story as to why she took such a drastic step during the rescue operation. We move to flashback story of a village called Nayudupet in Nellore where the drought-ridden dwellers are thirsty for water. Many bore-wells are not capped. A poor couple's young child falls in the bore-well.
The director first focuses on the poor couple's lives by revealing how poor they are. They don't even have money to go to doctor when their son gets swimmer's ear. This whole portion occupies nearly half hour and irritates us. For the first 30 minutes, we feel the movie is quite boring. We only realise later that the director has deliberately established all these to use for dramatic effect in the later portions of rescue operation.
The director also cleverly has juxtaposed the rocket launch at ISRO in Srihari Kota with the bore-well incident as the story happens near this place. While ISRO is symbol of India's tech-power, the bore-well incident is stark reality of India's poor infrastructure in rural areas.
From the child falling in the bore-well to the climax episode, the narration is gripping. The director touches some emotional buttons well. Though some portions in the latter half of the movie defy logic, we can understand the limitations of this subject for a drama.
All in all, "Karthavyam" should not be seen as a regular commercial movie but should be applauded for the topical issue that it addressed in an engaging way. The film will appeal to people who like realistic dramas.
It doesn't have a single commercial element -- no song, no hero, no romance. Nayanthara is seen in the entire movie in single costume - a cotton saree.