“House Owner”… A moving journey through the lives of a couple, over two time periods

Posted on June 26, 2019


Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/house-owner-movie-review-lakshmy-ramakrishnan-baradwaj-rangan

In House Owner, writer-director Lakshmy Ramakrishnan continues her quest to tell strong (and strongly written) stories about women. In Aarohanam, it was a lower-middle-class vegetable vendor with bipolar disorder. In Ammani, it was a retirement-age worker at a government hospital. Now, we have middle-aged Radha (Sriranjani), who cares for a husband (Vasudevan, played by ‘Aadulakam’ Kishore) with Alzheimer’s. In the only showy shot in the film, he’s unable to recognise himself in the mirror. “Who are you?” he barks, with all the authority you’d expect from a retired army man. How, then, could he be expected to remember his wife? She tends to him as though taking care of a particularly difficult child. A simple instruction like “Go take a bath” turns into an endless series of pleadings, and if the repetition is numbing to us (which is the desired effect), you can only imagine what it’s like for Radha, who has to do this day in, day out.

The film’s title made me think of something along the lines of To Let, but the story revolves around the 2015 Chennai floods. The titles, underscored by a soothing Ghibran number, play over the many rituals of an Iyer wedding — we see Radha and Vasudevan getting married. (The younger versions of the couple are played by ‘Pasanga’ Kishore and Lovelyn Chandrasekhar.) The film, too, is a chronicle of the many rituals that make up a long-lasting marriage, the many small moments that we recognise as domesticity. Outside the older Radha’s home, in 2015, a catastrophe is in the making. Inside, it’s about playing carrom and preparing a meal and getting out battery-operated lights when the power goes off.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil