‘Ammu’ Review: Aishwarya Lekshmi is Terrific In Gripping Social Drama

'Ammu' is streaming on Amazon Prime Video from 19 October

Movie Reviews
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‘Ammu’ Review: Aishwarya Lekshmi, Naveen Chandra and Bobby Simha are terrific in this sensitive domestic abuse drama

Thappad starring Taapsee Pannu, Jeo Baby’s The Great Indian Kitchen, Darlings starring Alia Bhatt and now, Aishwarya Lekshmi’s Ammu, What does one infer from films like these?

They are themed on domestic abuse, yes, but what more?

It doesn’t matter if it's Delhi, Kerala, Maharashtra or Andhra. Women across the country irrespective of their caste, class or creed are subjected to domestic violence and most importantly, it is pertinent even today.

The story of Ammu revolves around a simple and happy girl (Aishwarya Lekshmi) full of love and life. Her parents arrange her marriage with their neighbour Ravi (Naveen Chandra). The film opens with a scene where she lights candles symbolizing her hope for a bright future with her husband. What she doesn’t realize is that it will soon extinguish and push her into darkness.

Ammu perfectly captures the complexity of abusive relationships and how the abusers use manipulative devices to invoke self-doubt in victims.

There are teeny tiny aspects that are carefully detailed while setting the context of Ammu’s family. It is done in order to explain why she feels hopeless in her marriage even when she tries to seek help.

For instance, her parents and in-laws are proud that Ammu & Ravi opted for an arranged marriage and didn’t disgrace the family by choosing partners on their own. Her father-in-law says she is a strong girl but her mother says she wants her to be submissive to ensure the couple live a happy marriage.

These are indicators of a poor support system that Ammu is forced to live with. And hence, she goes on a tiring journey where she realizes that if she doesn't stand up for herself, no one else is going to help her break free from the chains of misogyny.

The parallel storyline with a prisoner on parole, Prabhu (Bobby Simha) synonymous with Ammu was intelligently placed as they both try to escape Ravi’s egotistical toxic masculinity.

There are so many powerful set pieces that stand out and leave a lasting impact. The sequence where Ammu opens up to her mother about her abusive husband, the confrontation scene between Prabhu and Ravi demonstrating ego clash, the conversation between Ammu and Prabhu serves as a moment of realization about how one should respond to abuse — all of them collectively show the capabilities of the makers.

Another fascinating aspect is how the relationship arcs developed over the course of the film. Prabhu is denied forgiveness from his sister for a mistake he regrets and Ravi who is never guilty of his mistakes is forgiven by Ammu even without him asking for it. However, it was interesting to watch the tables turn as we progressed through the film.

Aishwarya Lekshmi who recently headlined for bankrolling Sai Pallavi’s Gargi and starring as Poonguzhali in Ponniyin Selvan, is stunning in Ammu. The way she portrays the suffocation of a domestic abuse survivor was realistic. The scenes where she uses makeup and a fake smile to camouflage the bruises on her face and heart were painful to watch.

Naveen Chandra is terrific as Ravi. His character shows a brilliant shade of dark grey and not pitch black. He starts out as a progressive man, then turns into a sexist and soon shows his true colours as a bigoted misogynist. However, the transition of Ravi from a lovable to an abusive husband felt slightly abrupt.


Ammu represents the women you know. A mother, a wife, a sister, a neighbor, a friend or worse you. She is very familiar in our lives. She is the one who is silenced by abuse and at many times, silences herself for the sake of love.

The best thing about Ammu, apart from Charukesh's compelling story and the engaging narration, is its dialogues written by Padmavathi Malladi — a deadly concoction of pain, power and humour.

Creatively produced by ace filmmaker Karthik Subbaraj, Ammu is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.

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Topics:  Ammu   Karthik Subbaraj   Aishwarya Lekshmi 

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