The shot fades.
The next instant, we see a slow close-up of her eyes, and then, the camera shifts to a pair of weary, forlorn ones. They belong to Jeeva (Sathya), the hero, who has now been jolted from his reverie. He is in jail; with a beard and drooping shoulders. On the way to the court, he sees a few school students. And that’s when he betrays the first hint of a smile. A weary one at that.
Flashback to Ooty, set in the late 80s. Jeeva and Karthika (Mia George), both in their twelfth grade, fall madly in love with each other. They take to the woods to exchange love-notes, get caught, and all hell breaks loose. Conflict arises, one after the other: unyielding parents, a devious friend, a poker-faced psychiatrist; and we have a redundant saga of love and longing in the time of land phones and love letters.
Amara Kaaiyam is probably a dull take on the Bard’s Romeo and Juliet in all its antiquity, but sans any sub-plot, interesting supporting characters or other embellishments to make it engaging. The love-story, bland and dispassionate, livens up only during those instances when music begins playing. And Ghibran, to his credit, lets us savour a few moments here and there with his beautiful posy of romantic melodies; our pick being Chithra’s Mounam Pesum.
During other times though, the outmoded tale of love tests our nerves.
Jeeva pines for love. He’s insecure, having lost his father at a young age, and is unable to come to terms with his mother’s remarriage, or his somber step-father. In passing, we are told that he is a Kamal Haasan fan, who uses the same method that his idol resorts to in Sathya. Punch rowdies if need be. He is also a loner, who only has a spineless friend for company.
Karthika, on the other hand, is bolder. And doesn’t think twice about confessing his love for him. But Jeeva is unsure. He thinks all night, takes out their school photo, stares at her for a long time, and is finally ready with his answer the next day.
While the first half of the movie is replete with stolen glances, and mouthing a record number of ‘I love you’s, post interval, things take a predictable route. And quite conveniently, there’s the 80s backdrop to fall back on – to justify the cliché-ridden, unimaginative script and its lovers.
Even the actors, except Mia George in a sparkling debut, seem bored. Sathya is a younger, leaner version of his brother Arya: expressionless with drowsy eyes and an awkward gait. But while Sathya struggles to infuse warmth into their romance, Mia is earnest, going from gawky to mature with ease; with a smile that touches your heart.
Little thought seems to have gone into to the selection of supporting actors, with none making an impact. Thambi Ramaiah is wasted in a role that requires him to look scared and stunned.
And finally, while credits do mention Ananth Nag – much to our dismay – it is not the legendary Kannada actor.
The Amara Kaaviyam Review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.