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Aachar & Co. Depicts the Middle-Class Family as the Comedy Lead

Updated: Sep 14, 2023


Aachat & Co. Movie Poster

First it was Kanthara, then it was Raghavendra Stores, both by Hombale films, yet both films were done to perfection. Next, it was, Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar produced Aachar & Co. which is part of the silent change occurring in the Kannada movie industry. We are slowly moving from conventional blockbusters to enjoyable non-conventional movies with delightful plots. It is interesting to note that both Raghavendra Stores and Aachar & Co. touch upon arranged marriage.



Sindhu Sreenivasa Murthy

Directed by the young Sindhu Sreenivasa Murthy, Aachar & Co. has a voiceover narrative that is quirky and sets the tone for the whole movie. The narrative is subtle enough to be part of the storytelling and not the plot itself. The song that kicks off the narrative I thought would continue with the same tempo, but thankfully it didn't and it was just a song for the start credits.


Ms. Sindhu has been knee-deep in theater for quite a few years with even a documentary that she directed and narrated on Doordarshan (DD). She was also cast in Netflix's Brahman Naman, and proved her acting chops once again in her own directorial debut. She plays the eldest daughter in the family who is always too smart for her own good. You can't help but see parts of Sindhu herself in this role she wrote.




Aachar & Co. Cinematography


The movie itself feels like Paul Fernandes/ and Mario Miranda's artwork has come to life. Initially, I thought the production team did an amazing job with the sets, but the more I saw the more obvious it became that such wide roads have to be in Mysore. My doubts were cleared entirely when they mentioned Taj West End in Bangalore and walked straight into the Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel with its timeless Marble staircase. Given below is a still from the movie and a pic I took myself of the marble staircase.



These reminded me of my pilgrimage to R K Narayan's house in Yadavgiri, Mysore. It is an ideal house for a writer offering enough space to think, a garden to look at, and plenty of natural light and ventilation that would put most modern homes to shame.



Aachar & Co. revolves around a Brahmin middle-class joint family in Jayanagar, Bangalore and marriage in the 60s and 70s. People had a lot of kids back then, and each had to become either an engineer, doctor, or lawyer with Government jobs being the height of achievement.


Aachar disapointed by his eldest son

On paper, this seems to be a cliché that's done to death but never shown this delightfully onscreen. It's relatable, as middle-class as it gets and they get the clothing, hairstyle, and architecture just right.



There are the gossip mongers that exist in every community represented by an oft-used abbreviation BBC (each letter standing for a name Bharathi, etc.). Such people did and do exist and show themselves on the occasion of a wedding, gossiping merrily. What's sad is we each have become these cantankerous rumor-mongers, at times, with the help of social media. So this renders the quaintness of the BBC moot and the joke is out of place and a little redundant.



Social issues addressed in Aachar & Co.


They tackle physical abuse in a marriage when one of the Aachar womenfolk returns home during a marital spat. The eldest Aachar girl played by Sindhu tries to patch things up the first time, the second time when she sees signs of physical abuse she stands up for her sister and fends off her husband.


Sindhu touches upon era-prevalent gender roles of the wife being the housewife/homemaker and the husband being the breadwinner. Anything that deviated from these designated society-assigned roles would be met with doubt, derision, and mild hostility in a few cases.



Arranged marriage - Surprisingly unchanged over decades


Arranged marriage has remarkably been the same from the '60s to 2023 with the only difference being technology. Everything from the awkwardness of two families meeting to the difference in lifestyles is the same even today. The seating protocol is still the same and the person who speaks is the decision maker has remained the same as well. The only difference is the boy and girl will probably text or video call each other after the meeting.

The reaction of both the bride and the groom when they first see each other is everything. This happens during one of the wedding rituals in the movie. Both display a similar level of disappointment that eventually settles as a marriage progresses just as sediments from a handful of soil do at the bottom of the glass.


The boy starts out dreaming about a Disha Patani lookalike with a great personality and identical life goals. Time passes and the young man would be more than content with a girl who could pass for someone with the looks of a lady who could be on TV and is well-read. After more time anyone who doesn't completely put him off and is single would be at the top of his list.


The girl starts out dreaming of washboard abs and an intellectual rolled into one person. She later is fine with a handsome man with an amazing career and an interesting life. In the end, the selection dwindles to someone who is hopefully taller than her and has a job.


The later you catch the guy and the girl in this process, the less disappointed they bound to be, through the miracle of time.



Aachar & Co. does 60's and 70's nostalgia right


It is not easy to establish era references organically, but Aachar & Co. does it in style and how!


Clothing and Hairstyles


They pretty much nail the era's clothing and hairstyles with the actors pulling them off with ease. The second eldest son's mustache and butterfly collar's on-point and the colors are very era appropriate as well.

The ambassador car was a massive status symbol in the 60s and people still look back at the car fondly today. The Lambretta scooter was also an iconic symbol of the 60s and 70s, in its familiar red and white form.


Architecture


Being filmed in older parts of Mysore, you do feel that you are touring the streets of Bangalore in those decades. I immediately thought of Rangayana's Bhumi Geethe auditorium when the youngest Aachar son is performing in a play. I used to catch the evening plays on Sundays from 6:30 pm when I resided for a few months in Mysore.

Youngest Aachar acting in a play

The oxide flooring of the house reminded me of simpler times and of R K Narayanan's home.




A delightful comedy with tasteful jokes


The humor is woven into the movie tastefully and shines through like the zari in a Mysore silk saree. The jokes are timed well and are relevant to the period the movie refers to. Each year makes a cameo in the form of real-world objects from a syndicate bank wooden coaster to a wedding banner in flowers and so on.

Date Cameo in Aachar & Co.


The humor arises from joint family life, living in close quarters, and tension between the parents and children as time progresses. The middle-class dream is what Sindhu is trying to personify here which has developed well, as a character in itself in the movie.


The end of the movie is a bit predictable and simplistic but doesn't ruin the movie one bit and leaves a bit of space for improvement, however.


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