Review : BAARAM

By Rinku Gupta
National Award winning film Baaram is being released by Vetrimaaran's Grassroots Films and SP Cinemas.
Director Priya Krishnaswamy has explored the practice of Thalaikkoothal in TN which loosely translates into 'mercy killing' where age old practices ( like inducing fever) are induced to give release from life to old, sick , suffering patients with no hope of getting better.  How this can be exploited for personal reasons by families, is highlighted in the story.

The story features an aged watchman who gets injured in a freak road accident. His hip bone is broken but his egotistical and stingy son Senthil prefers to take him to his village, and keep him suffering and bed ridden in an outer hut. He refuses help from his cousins Murugan and Veeravel who even offer to look after the injured uncle whom they love.
One day soon after his sister visits the imjured man, suddenly they hear that the old man died in his sleep. When they attend the funeral they learn that he was in fact killed off , by paying a fee, by his son. Complaints to police reach nowhere and Veeravel approaches the media. Things begin to move and a huge racket in the name of mercy killing is unearthed. Does the family get justice?

Kishnaswamy has done full justice to the topic. Shot like a slice of life film with no cinematic flourishes,  the film seems very real and hits you hard. The scenes transporting the injured man in a tempo are gut wrenching. (Though it is debatable as to why the loving nephews who were willing to look after their uncle would transport him in this barbaric manner on a hard surface of a tempo,  without even a thin mattress).
The actors ( mostly first timers) have performed superbly, and are the mainstay of the film along with the realistic dialogues .
On the flip side it maybe argued as to why the director has chosen to highlight the practice as only TN specific,  when in fact it is touted to be present across the globe in various forms. A few statistics or mention of this global practice could have been added perhaps, to highlight the high prevalence of this practice.
 The way the old man is killed with an injection can hardly be termed as thalaikkoothal, and seems more of a racket,  which could have been highlighted so as to demarcate the difference.

Baaram makes for a raw and hard-hitting watch.

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