Film: Ammachi Yemba Nenapu
Director: Champa Shetty
Cast: Raj B Shetty, Vyajayanti Adiga, Deepika Aradhya, Radhakrishna Urala
Rating: 3.5 stars
Ammachi Yemba Nenapu is a compilation of short stories written by Vaidehi and Champa Shetty, who, in her directorial debut puts forth a painting-like film. Well-crafted and inter-woven with Kundapura culture, the film is set in a bygone period and revolves around women in different stages of their lives, and how they suffer in the hands of men in a patriarchal society. While it is hard to decipher the dialect in certain portions, the audience is able to piece together the story thanks to the characters.
For a woman, the struggle and fight begins from home, and this story is told through the narrator, who tells us about Puttamatte Ajji (Radhakrishna Urala), an elderly woman, her grand-daughter Ammachi (Vyajayanti Adiga), Akku (Deepika Aradhya) and their respective lives.
Set against a village backdrop, Puttamatte is widowed at a very young age, leaving her with no choice but to land up with her child at Seshamma’s house. Seshamma hails from an upper cast Brahmin family. Along with Ammachi is Venkappaiah (Raj B Shetty), who lives with Puttamatte.
Growing up, Venkappaiahstarts dominating Ammachi, which does not go well with her. A girl with an independent mind, she dislikes everything about Venkappaiah, and avoids getting trapped by him. But destiny has different plans for her. She has no choice but to marry Venkappaiah and leaves for Tirupathi, where he runs a hotel business. But soon, she returns and gladly announces to her grandmother that Venkappaiah is dead.
On the other hand, at Seshamma’s house is Akku. Abandoned by her husband, her sudden announcement that she is pregnant. She dares to fight back with her family, and these episodes take the film forward.
For Champa, the challenge of adapting the book into a movie was huge, but she makes no mistakes. The first-time director has faithfully gone by Vaidehi’s thoughts and has crafted the characters well. She is rooted to Kundapura and adds authenticity with the set-up, make- up, body language, as well as the dialect, all of which seem natural. She should also be praised for effectively handling the various characters.
Every artiste in the film deserves an applause, whether it is Vyajayanti Adiga or Radhakrishna Urala, a man who plays a woman’s role as Puttamate), Deepika Aradhya, along with a host of characters,
mostly from the theatre background who have transitioned to silver screen and deservedly get the attention of the audience.
One can love or hate the character of Venkappaiah played by Raj B Shetty, but one cannot ignore him. He is a very strong part of the story, and individually stands out for his negative shade. The camerawork by Naveen Kumar is brilliant, and there’s soothing medleys and good background score by Kashinath Pattar.
Watching the film is like reading the book and this experiment by Champa makes for a worthwhile watch.