In the collection of dramas I have watched recently, Ram’s Tamil movie “Resurrection” is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic, as it uses a very “difficult” theme as its base to comment on other, equally difficult subjects.
Resurrection screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam
The film revolves around Amudhavan, a single father, and his 14-year-old daughter, Paapa, who suffers from Spastic Cerebral Palsy. His wife, after years of taking care of the girl on her own, has abandoned them and left with another man, and Amudhavan now has to face a task he tried to ignore the previous years. His relationship with his daughter is very hard since his initial efforts are treated with distrust and fear from Paapa, while his family and neighbors make it clear how unwelcome the child is there. Due to these circumstances, Amudhavan is forced to buy a secluded house in the country for them to leave by themselves, where the two manage to gain some sense of harmony, as their relationship, gradually, starts to flourish, while a female presence in the house makes things even better. However, when some contractors who want to build in the area make their appearance, the harmony is shuttered, and the two find themselves returning to the city, where new problems arise as Paapa is reaching adolescence.
Ram directs and pens a shuttering but realistic drama that highlights a number of concepts in Indian society. The problems with single parenthood, and even more with raising a spastic child of different sex is the base, but the film also deals with the prejudice towards these children, the greediness of the contractors who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, the gaps in the social welfare regarding both parents and handicapped children, the differences between the country and the city, and the circumstances of the transsexuals in the country. These comments are both the strength, since their presentation is quite interesting and realistic, and the weakness of the film, which I felt goes a bit too far in the script in order to include all the aforementioned, reaching, in that fashion, 148 minutes. A. Sreekar Prasad’s style of editing is quite good, but I felt that the film would benefit from some tighter editing that could leave some of the episodes out, and crop the duration a bit.
The blossoming of the relationship between the two, among all these problems, is the highlight of the narrative, along with the sequences after Amudhavan meets the transsexual woman. The presentation of this blossoming is outstanding, as it benefits the most by the performance of the two actors, Mammootty (who is actually a Malayalam actor) as Amudhavan and Sandhana as Paapa. The first one presents a majestic but very kind (occasionally even too much) man who is willing to sacrifice himself for his daughter, while the latter is outstanding in portraying a spastic child in a realistic fashion. Anjali Ameer in the role of the transsexual is also quite good in her debut.
Theni Eashwar’s cinematography is also great, as he highlights the rural beauties of the country, with the rivers, the green fields, and the fauna and flora in contrast to the ugliness of the city, where he focuses on the trash in the streets, polluted water, and the cramped and rickety apartments. Through these images, Ram makes a point of highlight his preference on the subject, with the finale exemplifying the fact even more.
“Resurrection” is a very hard film to watch, due to its duration and central theme, but the outcome is quite rewarding as it sheds light on a number of rarely depicted issues and a very well planned and executed relationship.