Mozhi’s Archana: Truly, One of a Kind!

A tribute to the lead-lady of Mozhi, portrayed brilliantly by Jyothika, ten years post the film’s release…

Mani Prabhu

Yeah, the truth still stares us in the face.

The prospect of a real woman in flesh and blood – complete with all her obstinacy and insecurities – happening in our cinemas, and ending up not being judged for ‘being’ her self, continues to be slim.

But, Archana is that rare occurrence – someone you could bump into on a normal day, and be readily intrigued.

When Karthik first chances upon her, it is admiration at first sight, as he trips over her conviction to stand up for what she thinks is right.

You know that feeling when you inadvertently fall for something in someone, and you are instinctively smitten? It’s not about the appearance or the perfections. It’s something else. Many a times, it’s an indescribable aura. Well, it hits you when you are least expecting. Bulbs flicker. Bells resound. And you sort of realize that something in you yearns for their attention.

Karthik does. More so, when he learns three crucial details over the course of the week, all of which skyrockets his fascination for her. One, she happens to be deaf-mute. Two, she is averse to relationships in general, thanks to the deep scars her father’s desertion had left her with. And three, she lives in the same apartment as him.

Karthik gets introduced to her and attempts to strike up a friendship. They get along well, but as he warms up more and more to her enigmatic appeal, he just cannot stop himself from going crazy out of love.

Desperately wanting to impress her, he decides to learn sign-language out of the blue one fine day. He puts in a lot of effort to pick up the basics.

Things initially seem to fall in place. The girl is quite impressed. But Karthik’s new-found enthusiasm knows no bounds.  One day, in an emotional high, he tells Archana that it’s a beautiful feeling to be able to imagine her voice through their gestural interactions, something he had hitherto missed.  One look at his face beaming with love, and you instantly know that the man’s intentions are genuine.

Everything about the scene and the staging screams of a cutesy romantic moment. Years of cinematic experience had Pavlov-conditioned us to anticipate the heroine blushing her way into a sweet song.

But Archana is not that heroine.

She cuts him off midway. And looks daggers at him.

She is unable to come to terms with the fact that her friend had attempted to compensate for her disability by creating a rather convenient version of her persona.

“If you have to please me or some part of your self by imagining a voice every single time I speak , you might as well not talk to me at all!” she walks away.

Her belligerence almost borders on hardened rudeness. Yeah, she wants the people in her life to accept her the way she is. Fair enough, but could she have been a little patient and sensitive in explaining herself?

Why must she? She is daring and uncompromising. But she is not flawless.

Compromises and sympathy just won’t do. Not in her dictionary; in any form.

Her obstinacy and commitment issues make her a tough character to connect with. But that’s just her. One of a kind.