Review: Avalum Naanum (Her & I)

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Written & Directed by: Thusy Suntharam
Cinematography: Kishok Somasundaram
Editing: Thibz Se.
Music: Rubato
Produced: T-Factory
Cast: Thusy S. & Waishnavi T.

“Mental illness is a sensitive subject”  When space isn’t allowed to let people talk and it keeps being dubbed as such, eventually it becomes sensitive, and more so in South Asian communities. Normalizing mental health awareness and having a healthy discourse about it is what young filmmaker/actor Thusy Suntharam is pushing through ‘Avalum Naanum’. A subject that is beautifully depicted but not romanticized, while emphasizing that mental illness is not a vice either.

The film’s strong points include the background score by Rubato. The helplessness Kaavya (Waishnavi) undergoes and the confusion and restlessness Thusy feels is both perfectly embodied by the score; playing it or toning it down in the right places.

Cinematography by Kishok was executed crisply. The lighting and camera angles were not over done; apt for a subject matter as this one. The confrontation scene was done brilliantly by focusing in and out of the characters to portray their emotions, and the emotional distance between them. The camera was the right amount of shaky to make the audience feel the anxiety and tension in the relationship as well.

In terms of portrayal, the viewers understand from the start with cut-scenes and showing Kaavya constantly in her room, that she is going through depression or some other kind of mental illness. Waishnavi does not have much dialogue-which is understandable considering the character- but she does a seamless job depicting the state of depression and Kaavya’s emotional struggle . Thusy was adequate in portraying a husband who is struggling to understand and help his wife. And on that note, the confrontation scene was a heavy one; one that needed more work. The dialogue delivery was decent but felt lacking in sincerity.

Although we can’t expect much in-depth characterization from a short film, it felt as if there could have been more explored. The film ends off with a caption of what happens next in Kaavya’s life and that she receives help, which could have been omitted; the silence when Thusy embraces Kaavya letting her know he’s there for her, was more than enough and undoubtedly their finest scene. Less is always more, especially in short films and hopefully in future projects, Thusy maintains this concept.

 

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