Saw a film, August Club, Malayalam, where a ripple of an extra marital affair crosses into the 8 years of marriage of a couple, disturbs the wife for a while and goes away making her feeling guilty of the very thought of it. Sounds familiar, we have encountered a similar guilt in the character of Shilpa Shetty in the Hindi film, A life in a Metro.. For once I thought the character played by Rima Kalingal, Savitri..should have gone ahead but not with that character she was attracted to. He was too much of balloon largely filled with air, although a master at chess.
Life in the film revolves around a couple with two kids and the August Club. Savitri the protagonist is the reigning chess champion of the club, she has so far defeated every man who knows to play game, men because no women in the vicinity play chess. The other woman in the story in a grass widow who talks about attracting men to her, or exotic and fancy ideas of intercourse.
So, Savitri is portrayed as this typical faithful wife and mother to her two kids, with a more than ordinary knack for the game of chess and writing poems in English. She has graduated in English and is portrayed as this character with great potential if she had not opted as a SAHM. She is this eternal romantic, in love with her books, with nature, who constantly slips into book and literature lands, and pens poetry. Her husband, played by Murali Gopi is a successful IT professional who seems dismissive of the game of chess, the English language and its literature and Savitri’s habits of versification.
This is the premise of the film where Savitri faces on the one hand an intellectual isolation at home and on the other, her passions are regarded as worthless by the husband. Within her she tries to make peace, if not her life is very happy and peaceful. That’s when our hero arrives who for the first time defeats her in the game of chess in the history of the August Club. There starts, a relationship of chess, literature and personal poetry between Shishir and Savitra tipping towards a romance; where Shishir is obviously trying to woo her, and Savitra is falling for his moves under the circumstances and the lack of attention. Until, a moment in her life, when she opens her husband’s laptop to recognize his care, concern and love for his wife and children in spite of the lack of time, his busy schedules, his taunts, and his lack of appreciation.
My quarrel with the film is in the way it falls into the loop of the ideal or the good wife. She realizes and she does a touch base with her circumstances and reality however, her life continues with this man who is faithful caring husband nevertheless at some level has trouble accepting her talents. There is no visible change in her situation or her dissatisfaction.
Rima Kalingal looks lovely in the film, her gait, her sense of dressing, her choice of attire.. Murali Gopi, I am a fan of his acting, but he cannot to save his life cuddle or kiss or make love in this film! There is that awkwardness. The location of their home at the beachfront is serene. There are l’l practical lessons the characters teach you in letting go of your ego, and stubbornness.
The highlight of the film was watching Thilakan and Sukumari. I guess it is the same feeling about not able to see them again on screen just like many of us mourn about Sachin at the 22 yard crease padded, ready with his willow, to face the ball again with an Indian cap…