Maa Short Film - A visitor's review

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Any work of creative freedom has the potential to resonate solidly with the orientation of certain affiliates. But a dimensionally bold one often unveils a box of debates, to which all the solutions end up being a collectively sensitive one. Maa is such an attempt - it handles a sensitive issue with a sense of duality.

Sarjun's short sets up a premise wherein the blanched colours of a middle-class life are splashed onscreen with realistic shades. It makes us empathize with the plight of every character, and there are small details that do so gloriously. Be it the fact that a cabinet full of trophies is shown to account for nothing, or how a dilemma is fretted about even though days pass by. Even the mother character's change of heart is shown to be a shadowed change - influenced by the shackles of society, subtly shown through the caging of birds.

It is not easy to portray a grounded sense of besmirchment in a humane manner, that's where the film succeeds. Maa does this by breathing some consistency into the character arcs. They don't feature traits that make them look like larger than life or glorify a radiant change in everyone's outlook. Maa boasts of figures with a radiance that is more than the insatiable appetite to overcome all odds wrong and emerge as a winner. It is a virtue to take all the dips and falls, and yet be the same insipid warrior whose struggles never cease. This is perhaps why the little moments stand out with a benign warmth. There are numerous such moments that do shed positive light: like the girl character's trust that the Hari character would never lower down to the standards of indecency or how it was not an act of exploitation.

Sudarshan's camera captures the soul of the movie beautifully and stays true to its nature. I like how unnecessary camera movements are avoided. Primarily it is the characters who take up the frame, thus always keeping us on the track of their journey. The cast enacts these characters with relative ease and infuses a requisite credibility. The use of intermittent silence communicates a handful. This silence, coupled with few visual aids, adds to the intensity of the dilemma. There are countless En Uyire tracks, but Sundaramurthy's one will be the first tune I hum if ever reminded of those words.

At the center of Maa is a big heart, that knows how to forgive. And credits to Priyanka for fueling it with dialogues that reflect commonly witnessed reactions and emotions. These emotional episodes are sketched by using tools available in the kit of your average somebody. Fear, remorse and a set of every other tool. But the average somebody who wins here is the mother. The homemaker whose mundane heroic moments go unnoticed. An ambrosial shoulder who has not only never abandoned her dependents but also bears the troubles, worries and if needed, even the pointers of the blame game head on. And Maa is a poignant reminder of that.

Senthil Kumar
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