Our society is over concerned about a woman’s marriage. Even the family starts to question her existence if she decided to stay unmarried. After those years of hardwork and late night studies the only thing that matters to society and family is fixing an alliance for their daughter. Archana 31 Not Out doesn’t jump into anything innovative but talks about the much discussed topic in the most simplistic route.
Archana is an unmarried 28 year old private school teacher who’s the only breadwinner of her family. A 30 failed proposal starts to bother her until she meets the man of her life. But things start to complicate on the day before her wedding and how she single handedly overcomes it forms the film’s crux. Debutante Akhil Anilkumar chose to play safe by amalgamating all those feel-good elements we experience in a Mollywood film. The foundation of Archana 31 is too thin and doesn’t add much in terms of screenplay but the debutante filmmaker keeps his audience busy with ample humour and relatable questions at regular intervals. The pace of Archana 31 Not Out is so fast that it doesn’t take any detour nor wait for any magic to happen. It quickly transports us into the world of Archana and the events that happen on her wedding night.
Akhil Anilkumar makes sure the process stays light-hearted rather than inflicting with too many grim moments. The pleasant landscapes and the people we meet on-screen have shades of our society and the director keeps the characters grounded to make it believable. There’s a sudden change of track towards the second half that radically changes the tone and the protagonist. It took some while for the director to establish this shift thus the second half and climax might give you a hurried look.
Aishwarya Lekshmi sheds her urban complexities and brilliantly transforms as the graceful Archana. There’s an array of emotions she goes through on her wedding night and Aishwarya’s neat portrayal shows her evolution as an actor. There’s an emotional exchange sequence between her and Indrans which is splendidly shot and cut by the makers. Among the supporting cast Rajesh Madhavan and Hakkim Shah leave an impression.
Archana 31 Not Out might’ve worked well as a short film but except for a few incoherent portions in the second hour, the director managed to keep the flow steadily. Though the climax preachings look odd and superficial, the tone it sets before manages to wrap its proceedings before it gets too messy. Archana 31 Not Out is an okayish attempt watch it if you’re craving for a feel-good dish.
Review by: Rahul Babu