Wednesday, October 26, 2011
#224: Adaminte Makan, Abu
MAMI 2011 Review Series: To read the first one click here.
Director: Salim Ahamed
Gist: Adaminte Makan, Abu is a Malayalam film about an old and poor perfume seller Abu (Salim Kumar) whose last wish before dying is to visit Haj. Abu strives hard to put together the resources. Will he make it ?
Script: A touching story with a universal theme put together with a great deal of sincerity by first time filmmaker Salim Ahamed. Such single track stories sometimes have a lacunae of being too simple but Ahamed layers it well with enough interesting characters like sawmill owner (Kalabhavan Mani), village teacher (Nedumudi Venu) and a most enigmatic wise man called Ustad (Thampi Antony) . The characters provide an assured sense of depth to the story and all the while contributing to the protagonist's cause. A particular track about Ustad has a keen hint of sagely foretelling that you are not sure if is either all hogwash or enlightened wisdom and therein lies yet another impressive facet of the script.
Acting: It couldn't have got better. Salim Kumar as Abu leads a glamor-less cast with wife Aisu (Zarina Wahab). As the frail but staunch believer of Allah, Salim Kumar works into your heart with his seemingly simple but going by his financial means, audacious attempt to garner resources for going to Haj. Zarina Wahab as the empathetic wife is flawless and so are all the bit part characters. Kumar, who is otherwise a regular slapstick comedian in the Malayalam industry, very deservedly won the Best Actor at the National Awards for his role.
Filmmaking craft: The most remarkable thing about Adaminte Makan, Abu is that its a story conceived, put together and filmed by a first-time director. The emotional touch in the story overwhelms you without being overbearing or preachy. Abu is a simple, harmless and a nice man and his near idealistic portrayal doesn't bother you. His ordeals in his planning for his pilgrimage are spread evenly through the movie and no sooner than you realize, you are rooting for the protagonist. Add to that, some stunning photography by Madhu Ambat that completes this accomplished piece of filmmaking.
Piece de resistance moments: Numerous. Watch it to know them.
In a nutshell: I haven't caught much of the recent regional cinema but if this is the quality being dished out by the winners of Best Picture National Awards, kudos to the health of regional cinema in India. Shot entirely digitally, Adaminte Makan, Abu is symbolic of the zenith of independent filmmaking in India.