Tamil Reviews

Pagadi Aattam Review: Social Commentary With Skewed Ideals

If Pagadi Aattam does something right, it shows a woman (Gawrri Nandha) – someone who’s literate, but just enough – being the breadwinner of her family. A family that consists of her mother, and her sister. There is no abusive drunkard husband in the picture, or little children to feed – just a sister whom the woman wishes to educate. And, to do that, she drives an auto, pawns everything to pay her sister’s college fees, watches with a mix of pride and admiration as she fills out a course application. I’m fascinated by this woman, and the lovely arc that her tale takes. She’s obviously unmarried; there’re no questions raised (or implied) about her marital status – not even a passing taunt that scriptwriters sometimes sneak in – just to get the drama going. Indrani is quite simply what she is. A woman who lives, and earns for her sister – and, for their aged mother who simply dotes on her daughters. And when the sister on whom she had pinned all her hopes dies, Indrani doesn’t cry or raise a lament; eyes intense, she lives through the death, performs the last rites, stoic to the end. That really is all we get to see of her grief. That, and her cold, calculated revenge.


Indrani is quite obviously the product of feel-good plot work. A character who was meant to impress, surprise, and completely catch you off-guard. And even while I sense the real intent, I begin to appreciate the earnest effort that has gone into creating those little imperfections, those little flaws that just add more character. Of course, she has to have something that ticked people off’ that ticked the audience off – were those deliberate? I would like to think so. When Indrani discovers that her sister is seeing someone in college, she discreetly hands her a pack of condoms.

As a reproach.

Later, when the sister has had her lesson, Indrani flushes the pack – serenely – down the toilet.


For the most part, Pagadi Aattam fails to live up to its ideals. Much as it tries to prop up Indrani as its poster-woman, it also reduces her sister to a victim of virginhood. Life after premarital sex simply doesn’t exist, for the woman at least. It veers between a quick suicide, and a painful trial by the society; and soon enough, Rahman – in yet another cop-act – does some moral-policing. He hauls in young women, he hauls in young men, and launches into a passionate speech about everything that is wrong with them. He judges, and he names. And, in probably the most knee-jerk, insanely impulsive top-cop decisions ever, he destroys vital evidence to a case in righteous indignation. It feels good, it really does – but it just doesn’t feel right.


The Pagadi Aattam 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 any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.