By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

The 2022 Amazon original ‘Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu’ is a coming-of-age film starring Akshara Haasan as a shy under-confident college student Pavithra who goes on an unwitting journey of self-acceptance.

The film marks the directorial debut of Raja Ramamurthy, who has written the story for the flick. For non-Tamil viewers, the title flips to ‘The Myth Of The Good Girl’, a tale of a young woman raised in a strict traditional household, who struggles with her identity and sexual awakening. It’s a ‘slice of life’ kind of movie, set realistically, with a lot of relatable characters, minus the excesses of big Tamil masala entertainers. So there are no dramatic proposals, no dancing in foreign locations, and no forced caricatured characters making ridiculous jokes; although there is an aunty who keeps trying to peddle weird products to Pavithra’s family. And while it’s great that Ramamurthy attempts to keep his film real, the pace is so exceedingly slow at points that a lot of viewers will find their interest wavering.

As far as the cast is concerned, Akshara Haasan is able to pull off the role largely, and does the bits of an awkward sweet young girl quite well. It’s the scenes requiring emotional heft where her breakdown as Pavithra isn’t very convincing. Siddhartha Shankar is cute as her cricketer boyfriend Harish and the two surprisingly make a sweet onscreen couple. Their romance is drama-free and breezy.

Actors Anjana Jayaprakash and Shalini Jayakumar are entertaining as Pavithra’s best-friends Rathi and Jessica. Each girl in the trio is representative of different kinds of girlfriends, and many viewers might be able to see echos of their own buddies in them. Jessica is ‘saving’ herself for marriage and thinks pre-marital sex is a sin, while Rathi doesn’t attach the burden of societal expectations with her sexuality… and then there’s the protagonist Pavithra, who isn’t sure if she should ‘seal the deal’ with her boyfriend. Singer Usha Uthup gets a small but meaty role as Pavithra’s grandmother and just like her strong vocals, she has great screen presence!

‘Achcham Madam Naanam Payirppu’ is definitely a breath of fresh air, especially with its women-dominated cast, all in different shades, from plain annoying to absolutely endearing. The script does a good job of representing female friendships and relationships, but there are some basic loopholes that discount the intelligence of its characters. And like mentioned before, the pace is slow, with too many long-drawn shots that are neither great to look at, nor do they help in carrying the story forward. A lot of scenes could’ve been shortened and the runtime should’ve been a little more tighter. Patient viewers looking for a leisurely coming-of-age story might find the film to be a rewarding experience.

It’s a 6/10 from me.

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