What’s it about?
Engels Ramaswamy (RJ Balaji) works as a reporter on a local cable channel in Kasibugga in the Uttarandhra region. Leaving them in struggling conditions, his father left their family years ago. Ramaswamy is the sole breadwinner. More than a dozen girls reject his alliance seeing the family responsibilities he is burden with.
One day, he and his mother (Urvashi) and three sisters go to Mukkupuduka Ammavaru temple that is situated in a deep forest. The reigning deity appears before him and grants a boon, but in return, the goddess asks him a favor to do for her – to make the temple as popular as other famous temples. What is the Goddess plan?
Satirical dramas on fake godmen are not new. Bollywood films like Raj Kumar Hirani’s ‘PK’ have handled this subject brilliantly and entertainingly. “Ammoru Thalli”, directed by Tamil actor and anchor RJ Balaji N. J. Saravanan, has chosen a topical issue and conveys its message without fuss. But it misses the chance to exploit its full potential, though!
Why do godmen need thousands of acres for land for an Ashram? Are they doing real estate business? RJ Balaji shoots the question directly. While the film stresses that point god does exist (in all of us), it exposes the business done in the name of god and the fake godmen.
RJ Balaji has employed the age-old plot device of a god/goddess appearing in person to drive this point.
The message this film conveys comes across loud and clear. This is what is happening today in India. RJ Balaji subtly throws satires. However, many sequences that are included to generate humor, have not fully created impact. Sharp writing would have made the difference.
Even the portions of exposing the fake baba lack effectiveness. Many things don’t add up to the logic as well.
RJ Balaji, in the role of Engles Ramaswamy, has put in a sincere effort. He suits the role well. Nayanthara as the Goddess is an apt choice, indeed. She has the poise required to portray the Goddess’s role. She shines in the role. Ajay Ghosh as Baghavathi Baba seems to have been inspired by Jaggi Vasudev and Nithyananda is just okay. Urvashi as RJ Balaji’s mother steals the show. She is hilarious at many places.
The film has decent technical values.
Bottom-line: ‘Ammoru Thalli’ talks about a sensitive but relevant matter, and that’s enough to appreciate this effort. The film certainly drives home the point. But some clichéd sequences and inconsistencies make it an average fare.
By: Jalapathy Gudelli
Film: Ammoru Thalli
Cast: Nayanthara, RJ Balaji, Urvashi, Ajay Ghosh,
Directed by: RJ Balaji, NJ Saravanan
Release Date: November 14, 2020
Streaming on: Disney+Hotstar