Works in parts!
- Cast: Aishwarya Rajesh, Selvaraghavan, Aishwarya Dutta, Jithan Ramesh, and Anumol
- Writer-Director: Nelson Venkatesan
- Producers: S R Prakash Babu and SR Prabu
- Music: Justin Prabhakaran
- Runtime: 2 hours 21 minutes
Director Nelson Venkatesan, known for films like Oru Naal Koothu (One Day’s Ado, 2016) and Monster (2022), comes up with a slow-moving crime drama titled Farhana.
Though the film is supposed to be a crime story, it comes across more like a romantic drama at first. It is only in the second half that it turns into a crime drama.
Farhana (Aishwarya Rajesh), a deeply religious and devout Muslim woman, lives with her husband Kareem (Jithan Ramesh) and their three children in her dad Ajeez Bhai’s (Played by Kittu) residence.
Like most other Muslim families in the vicinity, Farhana is a homemaker. Her husband and dad make a living through their footwear shop.
Business at the once-prosperous shop slows down and forces the family into penury. The financial status reaches an alarming state with the men unable to make even enough to pay the children’s school fees.
Out of desperation, Farhana, who is educated, expresses a desire to take up a job. While her dad is against letting women go to work, her husband supports her.
Through the help of a friend, she gets a job at a call centre. Her job is to call on behalf of a bank and get customers to sign up for credit cards.
Farhana is pleased with her job as it gives her financial independence. She feels empowered and gains confidence.
As time goes by, she notices that her colleagues in another department make more money than her. She realises that employees working in that department receive three times more incentives than what she receives.
Farhana, too, expresses a desire to move to this new department so she can make more money. Though her friend Nithya (Anumol) advises her against the move, Farhana persists and succeeds in changing her department.
But it is only after joining the department that Farhana realises that the huge incentive her company is paying is not to sell anything but to have conversations, often of a sexual nature, with men. The longer the calls last, the more money the company makes.
Initially, Farhana feels repulsed by the sexual chats that people have. But just when she starts to hate the callers, she receives a call from a man called Dhayalan (Selva Raghavan) who refrains from making any sexual comments.
Soon, Farhana starts taking a liking to this caller who keeps calling her daily. Also, she gets drawn to him. What happens next is what the film is all about.
#Farhana what do I say ! It’s one of the best scripts I have heard in my life ! And @nelsonvenkat converted it beautifully ! @aishu_dil is simply fantastic. I’m so glad I’m part of such a poetic film. Kudos to @prabhu_sr sir😍😍
— selvaraghavan (@selvaraghavan) May 12, 2023
Addresses issues but turns boring
Nelson Venkatesan, who is known to advocate feminist thoughts in his films, does exactly that in Farhana, too.
He is spot on when it comes to addressing certain points like dispelling the myths and the wrong perceptions that some people have about working women.
However, the director should have taken more care while penning a script that is as sensitive as this.
For instance, Farhana’s firm, which is initially shown as an entity that deals with selling banking products, is also shown to have a division dealing in sex chats.
Also, the movie makes monsters out of men and tries to subconsciously drive home the point that all that men can think of is sex.
Besides, the film moves at a snail’s pace for the most part. The conversations that Farhana has with Dhayalan are long and turn boring after a point.
— DreamWarriorPictures (@DreamWarriorpic) May 12, 2023
Actors at their best
Coming to performances, Aishwarya Rajesh delivers a splendid performance as Farhana. Be it her body language, mannerisms or dialogue delivery, she looks every bit the part.
Equally good is Jithan Ramesh who plays her husband. He comes up with a performance that can be termed his career’s best.
Director Selvaraghavan plays his part as the antagonist to perfection.
On the technical front, Justin Prabhakaran’s music is a big plus.
Be it the background score, which is apt, or the mellifluous songs, Justin impresses.
In all, Farhana is a film that works in parts.
(Views expressed are personal.)