Navya excels, showing both vulnerability as her character is taken for a ride by the jewellery owners and the sense of relentlessness, as she keeps looking for other options even in the face of what seems to insurmountable odds
Last Updated: 04.59 AM, Mar 18, 2022
Story: The life of Radhamani, a boat conductor, suddenly plunges into crisis after her daughter gets admitted to the hospital due to food poisoning. With her husband stuck in the Middle East, cash-strapped Radhamani has to quickly put together money and decides to pawn her gold necklace. However, she finds out that she has been cheated by the jewellery. Problems and pressure – from within her family and outside – continue to pile on as Radhamani tries to seek different ways to get the required money. Will she succeed and how?
Review: In the second half of VK Prakash’s drama-thriller Oruthee, the audience is treated to an aerial shot of Radhamani (Navya Nair) and her son trudging through a water body, in pursuit of a thief. The sequence is wide in scope and almost serves as an analogy of the sea of problems that is enveloping its protagonist, who refuses to drown in the misery and rises above to keep moving forward.
Apart from this scene, VKP doesn’t literally plunge its viewers into the massive problems that Radhamani faces in her daily life. In fact, he along with the film’s scriptwriter S Suresh Babu builds up her life, piece by piece, showing her daily grind and the balancing act between her work and family in this slow-burner. The film spans just over a day in the life of Radhamani, a boat conductor, whose husband is struggling in the Middle East, leaving her to take care of the family consisting of their two children and his mother. After their daughter is admitted to a private hospital, which the family cannot afford, she decides to pawn her necklace for money. But she soon finds out that they have been swindled.
Throughout this ordeal, the script throws in different instances of how life of a person is made uneasy by the system – from corporates who produce food supplies that are past their expiry and jewellery owners that defraud unassuming customers in the name of their brand to the cops who keep the public waiting for ministers to pass and detain students till their exams are over.
Navya Nair is in superlative form in her comeback movie as Radhamani. She plays the part of a woman who faces a mountain of challenges but has to plough through it. The script doesn’t shape her up as an individual who is hardened by what her life is, instead it puts her in a position where she has no other choice but to be strong. And this is where Navya excels, showing both vulnerability as her character is taken for a ride by the jewellery owners and the sense of relentlessness, as she keeps looking for options in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Her character grips you and keeps you invested in a movie that takes its time to evolve.
The portions of Saiju Kurup, who plays her husband, also melds perfectly to its overall arc and the internal struggles of Radhamani. He shows his frustration at not being able to give his family the life he thought he could through his job in Dubai and channels this at Radhamani, every time she hits a roadblock. This is also where Suresh Babu beautifully brings in Radhamani’s support system, which unsurprisingly are women – her mother, her colleagues at work and friends, one of whom even stays up at night while Radhamani is frantically searching for a misplaced bill, to find the name of a temple that could help her.
Oruthee also has a parallel storyline of SI Antony (Vinayakan), who is frustrated by his superior’s actions for aiding corrupt ministers and owners. Antony’s story, however, doesn’t stand out on its own, instead it organically connects to Radhamani’s. Vinayakan is good in his role as the sub inspector, who is harsh but right, and lends authenticity to the role. Suresh Babu also hasn’t resorted to any huge ‘mass’ heroics in the film, but instead focuses on the small efforts that build up a huge change in society. In fact, the fire here starts off as a flicker – well depicted by a candle-light scene with Radhamani and her family.
While the chase sequence is one of the highlights of the film, it does also pose a question why no one else helps a woman and a child who had been in pursuit of a thief for hours in the city and its outskirts.
The movie’s music by Gopi Sundar and Thakara Band also serve to build up the tension, while Jimshi Khalid’s cinematography lends the right shades to the life of Radhamani – from her swaying in her Thiruvathira performance amid the glow of temple lamps to the penultimate candle-lit scene.
Verdict: S Suresh Babu’s script of Oruthee lends the same simmering intensity as Shikkar back in 2010. Navya Nair takes this up a notch with her brilliant performance in this VK Prakash directorial that starts off slow and evolves into a gripping thriller that a lot of people will be able to relate to.