A husband and wife, who are poles apart, go through a lean patch after they start living separately.
starts with Elango (Samuthirakani) and his daughter Athira (Monica) walking aimlessly on the streets of Chennai. Athira asks where they are heading. Elango says, “I don’t know.” They loiter around, try to sleep on the beach, and eventually take a room in a shoddy hotel. They are homeless.
An obvious flashback shows how Elango and Jessica (Ramya Pandian) fell in love and ended up having two kids – Athira and Agara Mudhalvan (Kavin).
In a small house and a modest locality, they seem to have led a happy life. So, what went wrong? Like always, the woman bit the forbidden apple. She became greedy, wanted ‘the good life’ and moved to a bigger apartment. Her ambitions led to a shattered family.
The problem with Aan Devathai is not that it is a conservative and sexist but that it masquerades as a progressive and feminist take on modern life. Elango, who gets sicks of being unable to take care of his children, quits his job and becomes a ‘house husband’. This, on the surface level, looks liberal.
But the film eventually depicts how Elango, a man, can ace the role of a house husband and as a breadwinner but Jesse, a woman, can’t handle the real world or even if she does, it is at the cost of sacrificing the happy family life. So, Thamira, in the end, sublty seems to show that the place of a woman in a happy family is the kitchen.
Then there is this romanticisation of poverty, a fetish that the film constantly reiterates. Elango keeps telling how everything was all good when they were earning less. This obscure celebration of poverty is then teamed up with the disdain for anything modern. All the corporate employees in the film are either drinking, wooing married women, or buying things.
In a scene, Samuthirakani resorts to a long monologue (of course!) slamming the corporate culture and exalting farmers and villagers. It is high time someone tells these guardians of morality that most of these corporate employees are the sons and daughters of these farmers and coming from the villages, they seem to be in love with.
The latter, an ambitious career woman, refuses to be the stay-at-home parent and goes after the life she always wanted. Elango decides to be a house husband, and he is happy to be so. He becomes more close to children, but his equation with his wife goes haywire. But one day, following a fight with Jessie, he leaves home with his daughter (Monica). What happens to these characters after this decision is easily predictable.
A few dialogues, cinematography by Vijay Milton and the performance of Monica are the positive factors of the film, which has decent performances from the other cast. Though this family drama has a tried-and-tested screenplay, with only a few engaging scenes, it is less preachy when compared to some of Samuthirakani’s earlier films.
Coming to the filmmaking, Vijay Milton’s commendable cinematography can only to do so much to lift up the melodramatic narrative.The same could be said for the music of Ghibran as well. Surprisingly, the songs in the film were short.
As a performer, Samuthirakani never disappoints. But it is tiring to see him as the nauseatingly good and moralistic guy over and over again. Ramya Pandian is mostly convincing as the mother of two, struggling to balance between being a mother and pursuing her career. But at times her expressions are inadequate. Monica as Athira speaks a lot for her age – at least she is not as loud as Imaikka Nodigal’s Manasvi Kottachi.