Champa P Shetty's Ammachi Yemba Nenapu is about the patriarchal society where the men wield complete authority on women's lives. The movie, which has Raj B Shetty, Vyjayanti Adiga, Dr. Radhakrishna Ural, Diya Palakkal and Deepika P Aradhya in the leads, is based on Dr Vaidehi's short stories.
Dr Vaidehi is the narrator of the story and her character appears as a young friend to Ammachi (Vyjayanti Adiga). Set in the 80s in the Kundapura region, the story revolves around the lives of few women in the upper-caste families. It is about how society suppresses the freedom of women.
Ammachi is an orphan who was raised by her grandmother Puttamathe (Radhakrishna Ural). Her wish to pursue studies was curtailed by the society and she is now being pestered for marriage by Venkapaiyaa (Raj B Shetty).
Adjacent to their house, there is a well-settled family, which has every reason to be happy except for Akku (Deepika), who suffers from mental health problems after her husband ditched her. Her family members do not show any compassion and abuse her, constantly.
Ammachi Yemba Nenapu is not completely set around one particular character as it projects the issues faced by the women from three different characters – Ammachi, Akku and Puttamathe. Yet they are strong in their own terms in spite of being in the patriarchal society.
Ammachi wants to make her own choices and willing to defy societal orders. Akku might be on the receiving end always but speaks the truth without fear. And Puttamathe braved all the odds in the man-dominated society.
One such example is when she answers to a question of how she overcame natural sexual desire through iron will after she lost her husband at a young age.
However, the blame is not on the individual characters, but on the society. A simple example of it is the helpless father, who comes to her support, cannot digest the fact that she has slept with a man outside her marriage as the society sees it as a crime.
The movie has strong performances from Vyjayanti Adiga, Dr. Radhakrishna Ural and Deepika P Aradhya. Geetha Surathkal and all the supporting artists have done justice to their characters. It is apt to say Raj B Shetty has done an extended cameo in the film and underplayed his character. Hats off to him.
All the songs composed by Kashinath Pattar are meaningful and sync well with the story, Sangeeth Thomas' BGM and cinematography are top class.
Last but not the least, Champa Shetty gets special mention for her detailing. From easy-chair to the walls of the house, from preparing food in stone grinders to the costumes, she has done her job to perfection.
Verdict: It is a touching story on women sans melodrama. It is a brave attempt to tell a story in Kundapura dialect. The characters will remain in your mind even after coming out of theatres. That's the impact the Vaidehi's screenplay and dialogues have on the viewers. It is a much watch if you are a genuine fan of Kannada movies.