Ramante Eden Thottam (2017) Malayalam Movie Review by Veeyen


The feminist ideologies that ‘Raamante Eden Thottam’ puts to the fore accentuate that life for a woman lies further beyond the restrictive realms of a despondent marriage. There is a fierce sense of gravity that shrouds the smile on Malini’s face as she steadily walks towards the camera in the final scene; and it is probably this bright moment that would make us overlook all those detracting blotches that had marked her long journey.


Veeyen review Ramante Eden Thottam

The best moment in Ranjith Sankar’s ‘Raamante Eden Thottam’ arrives as the film draws to a close, with Malini (Anu Sithara), his female protagonist throwing open a swinging door and walking away into a world of freedom, self-determination and relief writ large on her face.  This is a decisive move that concurrently shuts out her former life beset with imposed choices, and one that should expectantly see her setting out on a trail of her own.

A visit to Eden and an encounter with the resort owner Raman (Kunchacko Boban) transforms Malini (Anu Sithara) in more ways than one. While her husband Elvis (Joju George) remains mostly heedless of his wife’s makeover into a woman who rediscovers her lost passions, Malini emerges a new woman who finally is certain as to what she truly wants from life.

Veeyen review Ramante Eden ThottamAs much as one would like to believe that this is a film about Raman and his Garden of Eden, it remains they serve as a mere backdrop for a woman’s tumultuous voyage towards liberty. Eden is thus just a brief stopover for Malini, and Raman her muse, who stirs up her stifled emotions, enough to make her start a Zumba dance class!

Of the three chief characters in ‘Raamante Eden Thottam’, Malini is offered the looking glass, and we get to see the rest of them through her gorgeous eyes, often clouded with tears that threaten to flood over. She is the quintessential ignored woman, uncared for and often mistreated, and who lives her life to see her unappreciative husband’s dreams come true some day. She is quick to brush all his flaws under the carpet, be it his infidelity, his irrepressible temper or his perpetual state of apathy and has resigned herself to a life that is stifled within the four walls of her apartment.

Veeyen review Ramante Eden ThottamElvis finds himself at the mercy of the writer, who spares not an opportunity to carve him out as an egotistical spouse who lives off his wife’s credit card. He is a heartless man, often oblivious of his wife’s presence, and has chalked out in precise terms his expectations of her. The dire need to strike up a contrast with the gentleman that Raman is, takes its toll on Elvis, with the result that black seeps in and eventually replaces even those slight shades of grey in the man.

Raman is the most underwritten of all three, and even after laying claim to the title of the film, comes across as little more than a caricature. It doesn’t help that his wife had the same name as Malini, and he is chided by his friends for having fallen in love again. The man who creates forests in the midst of concrete jungles, climbs all the way up a tree to take out and exhibit a couple of yellow bulbul eggs from the bird’s nest to Malini; something that one really wouldn’t expect of a hardcore conservationist, probably – not even for love.

There remains a whole lot of ambiguity, when it comes to the affiliation that Raman and Malini share. There are suggestions aplenty that it’s undoubtedly not a platonic association that the duo have, and its Malini’s familial bonds that keep pulling them back from moving further forward. Their affection that stems from initial aggression follows the time tested ways of human attraction and they resort to sending across scribbled notes hidden in vegetable baskets!  Raman proclaims that the warmth and wistfulness that is associated with the written word on a piece of paper could never be attained  through a hastily typed message on the mobile phone.

The sense of guilt that pervades this relationship further advocates that it’s probably not a mere companionable relationship that Malini and Raman maintain. Dreading her husband, Malini renames Raman’s contact on her mobile into something unidentifiable, and smartly conceals a solo visit to Eden. At one particular moment Raman  even retorts that he could only be indifferent to her, because he knows ‘he cannot have her’.  And yet, when in the end the equations change,  Raman surprisingly stays put where he had all along been. And Malini moves on.

 ‘Raamante Eden Thottam’ has two stellar performances to boast of – Anu Sithara who with a subtle and yet remarkable act, assertively drives herself into the company of notable actors, and Joju George who demonstrates how a terrific actor could makes an audience identify with a tremendously weighted role. The attempt to bring in a few lighter moments in the film mostly boomerangs, with only very few of Ramesh Pishraody’s one liners hitting the mark. Aju Varghese and his cameo are without doubt, a millstone to the film.

The feminist ideologies that ‘Raamante Eden Thottam’ puts to the fore accentuate that life for a woman lies further beyond the restrictive realms of a despondent marriage. There is a fierce sense of gravity that shrouds the smile on Malini’s face as she steadily walks towards the camera in the final scene; and it is probably this bright moment that would make us overlook all those detracting blotches that had marked her long journey.


Verdict: Above Average


 

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