Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. That’s the basic theme of director Gopi Nainar’s film ‘Aramm’ which takes on a serious and thought-provoking issue. We are taken to a village in the interiors of Tamil Nadu where people are struggling to source drinking water. Ramachandran Durairaj plays a village who does odd paint jobs and is keen that his children go to school and get a good education. His wife, played by Sunu Lakshmi, also supports the family by working with the fishermen and chopping wood.

Dry lands, empty wells and a parched people is what collector Madhivadani (Nayanthara) encounters when she takes charge. She tries to ensure that the villagers get water by diverting water tankers and this gets her into trouble with higher officials. Meanwhile, Dhanshika, the daughter of Durairaj falls into a well and this creates havoc as the villagers, politicians and government officials come together to save her. The media circus also promptly begins. Madhuvadani then takes charge of the situation to try and save the child. Is the child saved? Is the water scarcity situation resolved? How does Madhuvadani help the people? When she takes on local politicians, does she succeed?

For Nayanthara who is seen in most commercial flicks, the role of Madhavadani is a completely different one. The role is totally non-glamorous and purely performance-based. She has adopted a simple cotton saree look sans make-up for the role so the focus is just on her performance. So does Nayanthara deliver? Absolutely! She plays the role of the collector very convincingly and you end up applauding her.

Director Gopi Nainar had trouble getting the movie made but once Nayanthara came on board, it was set to grab eyeballs. ‘Aramm’ is about fighting the system – bureaucratic and political – and helping the people in need. The director has penned a film with a strong message and is thought-provoking. The cinematography of the film by Om Prakash is one of the highlights of the film as is the BGM by Ghibran.

The movie does have some flaws. It sometimes takes on the feel of a documentary because of the subject and the lack of commercial elements. The movie works because of Nayanthara and the new avatar she is seen in.