Santosh Sivan’s films usually explore land as a character and examples of it are his films such as “Tahaan” and “Malli” are. His latest film “Inam”, a war drama, also explores the same theme from the perspective of a group of orphans. Visually extravagant and emotionally poignant, the film is an ode to the lives lost in the 2009 Sri Lankan civil war.
It’s always a challenge to make a non-controversial film which has a war backdrop. In fact, we can’t call it a war; it was genocide that happened in Sri Lanka, where this film is set. Nevertheless, Sivan’s film never appears controversial and narrates a poignant story that unfolds during the civil war. It never provokes any political sentiments and merely focuses on the plight of a group or orphans who struggle for survival.
“Inam” narrates the story of a lone survivor called Rajini during the Sri Lankan civil war. She narrates her story to an interrogating officer, whose face we don’t see but is voiced by Arvind Swamy. As she narrates the story, we’re taken back in time and we are introduced to a bunch of orphans between age group 5 and 25, all living under one roof with their caretaker ‘Tsunami akka’, played by Saritha. The film explores the troubled relationship of these orphans, their horrors, as they journey through the war, running for cover.
Without taking sides, Sivan achieves a distinction in narrating an emotionally arresting story of human survival. It’s also the reason why you root for the film, its characters and build an emotional bond with the story. While the rape scene where a Sri Lankan army soldier is shown molesting Rajini, Sivan’s intention was not to point finger at the army or its personnel. In this particular scene, we also see that one of the soldiers was not happy with what was happening and he refuses to molest her. This particular scene was merely to highlight the fact that there are good souls in both the sides.
The film is made believable by the raw performances by the lead cast. The star of the film is Karan, a special child, who plays a character you will fall in love with. Sivan explores war through his innocent eyes and helps us in seeing everything from his perspective. The fact that special children are not dumb but different helps Sivan make us see the film from a different perspective. The film is also aptly supported by the performances of Sugandha Ram, who was equally flawless and a host of other characters as well.
“Inam” is a human story that tugs at your heart with a heartwarming narrative. A must watch for Sivan’s fans.view less