Review of movie Archana 31 Not Out by Akhil Anil Kumar

Review of movie Archana 31 Not Out by Akhil Anil Kumar
'Woman+ Unmarried+ Approaching one's 30s' is a perfect combination that would invite unabated sympathies and advise from one's friends(married) and family. Archana 31 Not Out portrays the life of one such woman, Archana(played by Aishwarya Lekshmi), who struggles to find the right groom for her. And when she eventually thinks she has found one, a twist awaits her. 

This movie is centered around the life of Archana, who works as a school teacher, appointed on a temporary basis. Her family survives on her income. The director has projected Archana as an independent yet grounded woman who is calculative but attends to the needs of her family. As with any woman nearing 30s, she is under a pressure to get married. However, for various reasons none of the 30 proposals sailed through.  

This movie is a new take on the arranged marriage scenario in India and Aishwarya Lekshmi looks splendid and carries the whole movie on her shoulder, though others have also played their respective parts well. Archana keeps a log in the form of sticky notes of the proposals for her wedding and the reasons why it didn't go through. I also liked the way in which her character was portrayed with a breezy yet matter of factly attitude. She doesn't get too attached or depressed when things don't work out in her favour rather accepts the situation and moves on- be it when the principal of the school asks her to resign or when the groom's family who are supposed to visit her house doesn't show up, while Archana's family anxiously awaits them.

So, one fine day, her hunt comes to an end as Archana okays a proposal from a Dubai-settled groom. The wedding arrangements are happening at a faster pace and Archana appears happy as she feels that she and her parents do not have to face the irritating yet inevitable question 'aren't you/your daughter still married?' any more. 

The day before the wedding, as the friends and families party and rejoicingly celebrate the big occassion, Archana gets a call from groom's brother that stupefies her. She doesn't know what to do and how to react to the news. The director has nicely captured the typical options one would resort to when one receives such a news. What Archana eventually decides and how she handles the situation is beautifully portrayed and I should say, the ending was one of the finest I have seen. 

Indrans, who is known for his subtle acting, is at his best. He doesn't utter a word in the movie but his body language does the speaking, which shows his calibre as an actor. He is an uninvited guest and observes the wedding preparation from a distance and eventually the audience gets to know the reason behind his mysterious presence. I also was at splits with the fun that the old-aged gang has, dancing and singing around the place with a wine bottle in their hand. When Archana takes a radical decision, it was also this old-aged gang from whom she receives the support first, which was quite a scene and it breaks the taboo that older generations are not in favour of unorthodox and brave decisions.

On the whole, this is a great movie with no noticeable flaws and as with most Malayalam movies, a very relatable script and the director pulled it off really well. This movie has got a good message to all the women in their 30s, who aren't married yet and to their families, that despite one's best efforts marriage could get delayed and the parents shouldn't apply too many filters such as Horoscope matching and other means that appears as if it would determine perfect compatibility and would guarantee happy married life. Marriage is a very big decision in one's life and it's in everyone's best interest that the two matured individuals whose life are at stake decide their compatibility. After all, marriages are successful not because of some random astrologer predicted the marital success based on the horoscopes, rather it is because of the constant and persistent efforts that the couple put into working things out and of course, unflinching and unadulterated love towards each other.

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