“Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum”… A deeply moving dissection of the lives of three women across three time periods

Posted on December 8, 2018


Spoilers ahead…

This film played at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star and will play at the International Film Festival of Kerala next week…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/sivaranjiniyum-innum-sila-pengalum-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan-vasanth-parvathy/

The number three appears to have gripped Vasanth. His last feature film, Moondru Per Moondru Kaadhal, narrated three love stories set against three different geographies. In Sivaranjaniyum Innum Sila Pengalum, which had its world premiere at the Jio MAMI 20th Mumbai Film Festival with Star, the geography stays the same — the confines of a house, the confines of patriarchy — but this is still about three women, as imagined in the writings of three men (Ashokamitran, Jeyamohan, Aadhavan) and set in three time periods: 1980, 1995, 2007 to the present. (I was reminded of Sivasankari’s serialised novel, Paalangal, though that was more about women across three generations).

All three episodes open with a shot of the sea. All of them feature the distinctive calls of our three major religions. Plus, each of these women – in chronological order, Saraswathi (Kalieaswari Srinivasan), Devaki (Parvathy Thiruvoth), and Sivaranjani (Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli)– gets a shot where she climbs and reaches for something in a loft or a top shelf. Vasanth leaves it to us to search for meaning. Perhaps the tides are these women, whose lives are in constant churn by external forces. Perhaps the climbing denotes aspiration, a better life. Perhaps the religious angle signals the promise of deliverance, so near yet so far.

But at least one aspect of the film’s construction leaves no room for alternate readings: the home, generally considered the safest space for women, can be as dangerous as the outside. Even today. Sivaranjani’s story begins in 2007 and lasts well past demonetisation. You might think the most recent story in the film would be the most progressive, or that education would ensure emancipation, but Sivaranjani — a promising athlete — is thrust into marriage while in college. A sad visual joke emerges, when a heavily pregnant Sivaranjani greets her heavily pregnant teacher. Sivaranjani’s husband, Hari (Karthick Krishna), has her under his thumb, and her mother-in-law keeps whining about her cooking. (There are subtle links between the three stories — in the first one, the old woman next door praises Saraswathi’s cooking.) Sivaranjiniyum doesn’t make the mistake of painting all women with the same brush. Some of them are sensitive. Some, like Hari’s mother, have bought into the patriarchy that surrounds them like air.

Continued at the link above.

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