A searing, soulful tale of a woman of will

A searing, soulful tale of a woman of will

Ammachi Yemba Nenapu

Rating: Good (****)

Lang: Kannada (U/A)

Film: Ammachi Yemba Nenapu

Cast: Raj B Shetty, Vyjayanti V Adiga, Radhakrishna Urala Rao Kota, Divya Pallakad, Deepika, Vishwanath Aradhya

Dir: Champa P Shetty

Doff your hats. Welcome Champa P Shetty to the exalted pantheon of women directors. Sandalwood can indeed take immense pride in that another women director has risen on the horizon with a marvellous auteur work.

Sensitive, soulful, and poignantly told, Champa's Ammachi Yemba Nenapu is a serious and engaging cinema narrated with all the finesse and sensibilities the subject deserves.

An adaptation of Akku, a play by renowned Kannada writer and poet Vaidehi, with its blend of triptych stories, Ammachi deftly explores the trials and tribulations women undergo in a patriarchal society as they strive for their own individual identities in a male dominated and machoistic society.

A tad melodramatic, with one too many off-putting songs, Ammachi speaks of the singular struggle of its orphaned heroine, deprived of education by a caring grandmother, who bravely stands on her own in her quest for empowerment, especially fending off the house pest Venkaiah, who has a lecherous eye on her.

Not to forget her neighbours, who are easily offended by her standoffish and brutally frank nature.

The powerfully scripted tale, which is a period piece that holds relevance today, also speaks of the widowed grandmother Puttammathe, who has to digest all the jibes and taunts in order to survive for the sake of her carefree but strong-willed granddaughter.

The film also speaks of Akku, who, deserted by her husband, has gone mad, becoming the butt of violence and embarrassment for her family, which her understanding father suffers stoically and silently.

Picturesquely shot in the coastal with the characters speaking Kundapura Kannada, the film is indeed a marvel. The way Champa handles the tale is subtle and sensitive without getting preachy.