Mahesh Narayanan’s ‘Ariyippu’ (Malayalam) is a wonderful “thriller” that strips away all thrills to present a realistic portrait of a migrant couple

Posted on December 13, 2022


Spoilers ahead…

Kunchacko Boban and Divya Prabha star in a story about people who do not have any kind of protection against the iron hand of an uncaring System. 


The first stretch of Mahesh Narayanan’s Ariyippu is set in a glove-making factory in Noida. Reshmi (Divya Prabha) is testing gloves, and despite it being an assembly line, she seems to be alone. This is due to the framing. Reshmi is in the centre, in a vertical strip, and the parts to her left and right are blacked out – it’s like Cinemascope, but in a vertical format. A little later, we see why Reshmi has been singled out this way. The next sequence fills the whole screen, and it shows Reshmi and her husband Harish (Kunchako Boban) signing papers to get a visa to go someplace with better prospects. Harish works in the factory, too. They are migrant labourers, from Kerala, and they work in an environment that’s filled with the sounds of Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam.

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