Aaram Thampuran- An in-depth analysis

Or how to make a creative resume that lands you a job

aaram thampuran poster

We all have been there- stuck in the wrong job, looking for a way out. K Jagannadhan (Kanimangalam Jagannadhan also known as Jagan, Jaggu, Jughead) was also at the wrong place, hating his job under a demanding bourgeoise bossman, Nandakumar.

Like in any corporate setup, Jaggu was tormented by his bossman, not giving him any break time, calling him up even on Friday nights, always pulling off the much pretentious and very overrated “we are friends” face.

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Jaggu, a JNU graduate, has been curating some pretentious art gallery in Delhi before he signed up with his present boss. Seems like the dude was in dire need of money, quite understandable given the job market for liberal arts graduates. Sigh!

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The job wasn’t that fulfilling either- how much satisfaction can one get in evacuating slums in Dharavi?

After an exasperating job of striking a deal with a client, Jaggu decides to take a break. As a token of appreciation of his relentless work until then, bossman lets Jaggu take a break in his newly bought manor, Kanimangalam, in Kerala.

Jaggu lands in Kerala after buying a range of Kurtas from FabIndia, because intellectual.

kurtas

The moment he is on malluland, he reclaims his upper-caste identity and soon joins a bunch of jobless oldies at the local NSS (Nair Service Society). Seriously, it’s like he has a caste filter to select his friends- Nambeesan, Pisharody, Mangalam, Ezhuthachan, and Pilla.

Maybe at this point, the writer Ranjith Nair felt a little secularist, so he added a muslim friend Bappu- the “good muslim” ready to do anything for Juggu

Interestingly, “caste” has more screen presence in this movie than the proclaimed heroine, a character solely for showing Juggu’s charity, Unnimaya.

singlecute

Her father Datthan was a womaniser who had Unnimaya with some woman whose caste is unknown. But the oldies of NSS certify that she has all qualities of an upper caste woman, thanks to the fostering by a Varma.

Kanimangalam, FYI, is a village from the dark ages where feudalism and casteism are married and patriarchy is their child. After Jaggu moves into the palace, people start calling him as thampuran (lord) and the narcissist in Jaggu is satisfied to the core.

In a nutshell, the time spent at mallu land is a reskilling-rebranding-career relaunching opportunity for Jaggu. He brags and bluffs about anything and everything the moment he gets a chance.

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When he isn’t bragging, any one of his loser friends would brag for him. The writer even brings a bourgeoisie cringeworthy cameo to say how much Jaggu loves Paris and that he is a chick magnet.

Hearing all these, Unnimaya starts developing hots for Jaggu. Jaggu reciprocates too. Right after Jaggu admits his feelings, Unnimaya’s role in the movie reduces to a background prop, hell, she doesn’t have any more dialogues in the movie except to look at Jaggu with admiration.

manju

Anyhow, staying at the manor, hanging out with NSS oldies, Jaggu gets really bored. I mean, how much can one talk about himself? His lack of a goal in life is taken advantage of by the NSS oldies; they tell him about saving the land and its people from a certain Kolapulli Appan Thampuran with a Jana Raksha Yatra to the nearby temple.

janaraksha

But, they are met with a crisis. They need a brahmin to lead the yatra (quite sure the writer swears on Manusmriti).

Immediately they reach out to Suresh Gopi, but he said he can come as a brahmin only in the next birth; a portion that didn’t make it to the final cut.

Amidst the crisis, the oldies brood on old memories and recollect a Brahma Datthan nampoothiri, the head priest of said temple who committed suicide after he was accused of theft, had a son.

And voila! we are told Jaggu is the son, the estranged namboothiri Unni. Now all problems are solved and everyone gets ready for the yatra.

But, all of a sudden, bossman and corporate friends land in the village for some merriment. Perhaps they have lived in the corporate world so much so that they think sexual harassment is really casual and end up harassing Unnimaya. Of course, bossman doesn’t see any harm in “casual” harassment for “fun”. Juggu gets enraged and packs off the friends and locks up bossman in a room- seemed like something he had been dying to do for a while.

For all the hype that was given until then, the yatra is basically a sword carrying Jaggu and his NSS oldies walking on the banks of a dying river; not even Unnimaya is present.

templefest

Although Kolapulli Appan tries to kummanadify the yatra, Jaggu manages to stop that with his Dharavi experience and Appan finally had to ammittadify. Yatra ends without much casualty.

Back at the palace, bossman is angry and fires Juggu from his job. A happy Jaggu decides to leave the village with Unnimaya and the foster father. At least now he has an effective resume at hand to get a job that he wants!

Here’s Juggu’s resume, in case you wonder.

Jaggu resume

You can find the malayalam version here 🙂

 

14 thoughts on “Aaram Thampuran- An in-depth analysis

  1. ഇത് കലക്കി! ആ ഹിന്ദുസ്ഥാനി സംഗീതം കൂടി ഇട്ട് താങ്ങണമായിരുന്നു. ഇത് എന്റെ ആദ്യത്തെ സിൽമ റിവ്യൂ ആണ്. സൂപ്പർ.

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  2. Excellent article. Aaram Thamburan is one of a string of feudalistic movies. I have always hated the casteism and feudalism in it. You should do the same with the precursor of this movie, Devasuram.

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  3. Criticism to Ranjith’s feudal symbols and so-called upper caste can’t be criticised better. He is a great craftsman but I had exactly the same puky feeling when I saw the movie especially after witnessing Manju being wasted woefully. Great writing. Keep Rocking!

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  4. Fantastic review and observations. The blatant casteism and sexism in many Malayalam movies especially post mid-80s is shocking and absolutely cringe worthy. Some writers like Renjith are particularly guilty of it and often try to mask it with pseudo intellectual posturing. Glorification (albeit subtle) of feudalism and upper castes was notable in some of Padmarajan’s movies too (not to take away the goodness of most of his movies). All the best and keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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