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Critics Review
Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum movie review: Parvathy, Kalieswari and Lakshmi Priya excel in this hard-hitting drama

Vasanth S Sai's anthology raises many pertinent questions with regard to women's freedom, individuality and existential crisis. It is also a wake-up call for alpha males and traditionalists to change

3.5
Thinkal Menon
Nov 25, 2021
cover image

A still from the film

Story: Three women, who belong to different walks of life, go through severe identity crisis because of the patriarchal system in their respective families. Set in three different time periods, the movie throws light on their helplessness and other myriad issues faced by these married women despite them having their life partners by their side. 

Review: Through the lives of three different women in Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum, director Vasanth intends to shed light on the relevance of topics such as marriage, patriarchy, privacy, parenting, joint family system, and so on. The stories of Saraswati, Devaki and Sivaranjani are portrayed in different time periods and we are told indirectly that things remain the same for women even after decades, no matter what. The anthology explores existential crisis of three characters despite them leading a seemingly happy married life.

The film begins with Saraswati's (Kalieswari Sreenivasan) story. Set in 1980, she comes across as the 'obedient and traditional' woman go goes to any extent to keep her husband (played by Karunakaran) happy. Her husband takes her for granted - he shouts at her when their little child cries for milk - something the couple can hardly afford. Saraswati also becomes a victim of domestic abuse. 

She raises her voice only when she realizes that she can't take it anymore. But call it her fate or the unfortunate norms dictated to women by the society, she still goes after her self-obsessed husband despite him ignoring in every ways. When she thinks that life can't get any worse, her husband leaves her forever without even bothering to explain about his disinterest in leading a life with her.

Devaki (Parvathy Thiruvothu), whose story is set in 1995, goes through a different scenario. Living in a joint family with a loving husband and others, she earns income unlike the elder daughter-in-law of the house. She commands respect among family members for the job she does. However, things change suddenly overnight. Her nephew, a young boy, finds that Devaki has the habit of writing diary. 

In what appears to be a casual conversation, he tells his mother, the elder daughter-in-law in the house, about the diary. Soon, every one in the family become curious about the content in the diary. They go on to suspect if it has something which would spoil the reputation of the family. 

The manner in which the family members force Devaki to read out the content in the diary is nothing, but the height of privacy breach. The segment explores how women are dangerously deprived of individuality in a joint family which appears to be perfect on surface level. 

The story of Sivaranjani (Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli), the longest segment in the anthology, is set in 2007. A passionate and hardworking athlete, she gets married off to a stranger. Unsurprisingly, her consent in the marriage is of least importance as parents are hell-bent on keeping the regressive tradition alive by deciding things by themselves. Needless to say, her career takes a backseat. She becomes pregnant in no time as her husband is desperate to become a father not because he is yearning to be a parent, but for the sake of family reputation. Apparently, men in their family have to prove their masculinity as soon as they are married, irrespective of whether wives are ready for a child or not. 

A decade later, she is seen performing the 'household chores' as a caring mother, a dutiful wife and a responsible daughter-in-law. Sivaranjani is disinterested in her life by all means, but she has no other go. Her heart desires to go back to the track and fulfill her dream of becoming an athlete. But she is aware of the fact that she has been 'trapped' in the conventional marriage system. Her tale ends with her realizing that there is no way out.

The anthology is a hard-hitting take on women's lack of freedom and the different ways in which they have been taken for granted irrespective of the family class they belong to. it also underlines the unfortunate fact that it is a men's world and that women's dreams and priorities are looked down upon. 

By narrating hardships of women who belong to three different time periods, the director also cleverly showcases the ill-fated reality of women even after three decades having passed by. Parvathy, Kalieswari and Lakshmi Priya come up with stellar performances, complementing the engaging screenplay which doesn't resort to melodrama just for the sake of it.

Ilaiyaraaja's background score for poignant moments make you feel for the characters' woes. Ekambaram's cinematography stands out, thanks to the detailing he has incorporated in all the three segments.  

Verdict: The film raises many pertinent questions with regard to freedom, individuality and the purpose of life. The awkwardness the female characters goes through in their lives should make the alpha males and society hang their heads in shame.   

Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum is streaming on SonyLIV. 


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