Archana 31 Not Out is a dramatic and satirical depiction of how marriage is treated in Kerala. The film directed by debutante Akhil Anilkumar, stars Aishwarya Lekshmi in the titular role, alongside Indrans, Ramesh Pisharody, Hakkim Shahjahan, Lukman Avaran, Sruthy Suresh, Renjith Shekhar Nair, Dileep Nath and others in prominent roles.
Premise of Archana 31 Not Out
Archana 31 Not Out introduces us to a 28-year-old Archana (Aishwarya Lekshmi), who completes her BeD degree and starts to work as a temporary teacher in a school. 30 marriage proposals have come her way but none of it worked out for her. When the 31st marriage proposal is brought, her marriage is somehow fixed. However, her happiness is short-lived as she gets to know that her soon to be husband eloped and got married to his lover. A completely shattered Archana now has to make sure that everything is alright. How she handles this challenging situation, alongside the taunts and constant chiding of the neighbours, forms the remaining part of Archana 31 Not Out.
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Archana 31 Not Out doesn’t really have a superb storyline. The script is written by Akhil Anilkumar along with Vivek Chandran and Ajay Vijayan. We saw the same plotline in Thinkalazhcha Nischayam. But what makes this film stand out is the way is the commentary on how girls are forced into marriages without their knowledge.
The film, especially in its climax, was interesting to watch as the team avoided using cliche routes. Rather, a new perspective to solve issues and conflicts was introduced. Barring that, the film was quite a dud with a handful humorous moments. The characters in the film were decently developed. Most of the focus was on Archana’s character development, which was well written. But several side characters were half baked and couldn’t really establish a connection with the viewers.
Aishwarya Lekshmi is the sole lead actress in the film. The way she tries to single-handedly carry the entire film is commendable. She does a good job as Archana and expresses the emotional turmoil and mood swings of the character with precision. However, in certain scenes, her acting didn’t really seem to be at par with what was needed. Ramesh Pisharody and Indrans in their extended cameo appearances do well as per the written material. Sruthy Suresh, Lukman Avaran, Renjith Shekhar Nair, Dileep Nath, Hakkim Shahjahan and the other supporting cast members in their roles were good as well.
Archana 31 Not Out doesn’t really have some spectacular technical work. That said, the cinematography by Joyal Joji is brilliantly done. I particularly loved how the house (before the wedding) was shot as well as the expansive shots of the village in which the film is set in. The editing by Muhsin PM is crisp and slick. He was able to capture the emotions of the film even though it was a fast-paced watch. The music and background score of the film is peppy and is something we all can groove to. The art director, colour grading, production designers and costume designers, too, deserve praise for their notable contributions.
Should You Watch Archana 31 Not Out?
As a whole, Archana 31 Not Out is a film that had a great ideology at hand with a strong messaging. The dull scripting, which doesn’t really help in building an effective platform for the final act, is what lets the entire film down. Aishwarya Lekshmi tries her best to make Archana 31 Not Out a compelling watch, but her acting prowess has limitations and cannot convert a decent script into something extraordinary. This is a film you can watch if you are looking for a breezy and light-hearted film.