Though it works better than many of the other over-hyped anthologies, the common theme that connects all the segments is just about barely visible in some
Freedom can mean a million things, depending on whom you are asking the question. The response would depend on everything from their immediate concerns, their social and economic situation and the level of education and exposure. Freedom of one kind or the other is supposed to be the common strand which connects the five segments in this anthology film. But in some of the segments, it is not so perceptible on the surface, while in some others, it is in your face or almost non-existent.
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For instance, Geo Baby’s ‘Old Age Home’, the best segment and the subtlest out of the five, Baby (Joju George), a retiree, is struggling with diabetes and a slowly fading memory, yet he craves to eat anything sweet. His wife Lali (Lali.P.M), on the other hand, has finally found the time to do the things that she always wanted, especially the running of a small home-based business, now that her children are settled in their lives. The seemingly-simple wishes are but not easily achievable for the couple, especially due to the expectations of those around them, including each other. Dhanu (Rohini), the househelp with her own share of issues, seems to understand both better.
True to its subject, which is based on the real-life struggles of ‘Penkoottu,’ a union of unorganised women workers in Kozhikode, ‘Asanghadithar’ directed by Kunjila Maschillamani uses a judicious mixture of cinematic narrative and documentary-style making. It captures the slow building of anger, and the formation of a movement, as the women protest the lack of access to toilets and brave the taunts of their male employers. Though it feels a bit stretched out after a point, Srinda, real-life ‘Penkoottu’ leader Viji.P and the band of women keep the interest alive with their light-heartedness amid all the struggle.
- Direcors: Geo Baby, Kunjila Maschillamani, Akhil Anilkumar, Jithin Issac Thomas, Francies Louis
- Cast: Joju George, Rohini, Rajisha Vijayan, Srindaa, Sidhartha Siva
In ‘Geethu Unchained’, directed by Akhil Anilkumar, Geethu (Rajisha Vijayan) is fed up with satisfying the expectations of the society. She is keen on not repeating the mistakes that others, including her mother, have made. But, it is not easy for her, with a boyfriend who changes his colour after their engagement, a colleague who develops interest in her, and a mother who constantly dictates things to her. It is the kind of film that would appeal to many youths, and it is laudable that the makers did not force a happy ending.
Jithin Issac Thomas’s ‘Pra Thoo Mu’ draws its title from O.V.Vijayan’s classic opening line from ‘Dharmapuranam’. A blocked septic tank at a minister’s and his attitude to the men who came to clean it, makes one of the men to rebel. It is an unequal battle, but the anger of years of oppression and contempt might be too hard for the minister to take. Jithin’s film, visualised in black-and-white, is meant to shock and awe the viewer, yet some of the proceedings seem a bit too forced, despite the very important issue that it is trying to raise.
Francies Louis’s ‘Ration’ seeks to highlight inequality through a story centred on the sharing of food items between two neighbouring households. Wasteful consumption and the struggle to earn the daily bread are placed side by side, with the stark contrasts making a striking impact at a time when a large section of the population had to depend on rations for daily survival.
‘Freedom Fight’ works better than many of the over-hyped anthologies, which have given the whole idea a bad name, but the common theme that connects all is just about barely visible in some.
Freedom Fight is currently streaming in SonyLIV
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