Lakshmy Ramakrishnan is a one-woman indie-filmmaker industry, and she has made a number of films – Ammani, House Owner – that range from solid to superb. Her latest venture, Are You Ok Baby?, is her most ambitious yet, because it is, in part, a meta-movie. It features a TV show named Sollaadhadhum Unmai. The name of its anchor is Rashmi Ramakrishnan, and her husband is played by the director's real-life husband. The show is bashed as sensation-seeking, TRP-hungry. One person Rashmi phones during the show asks, "Why should I answer your questions? Are you police or judge?" Rashmi is bashed for being a Brahmin. She is bashed for interfering in "poorer people's" lives while wearing silk saris. Her interview quotes are twisted. Even as a cop makes cynical comments about the show, we see a woman claim that she is a big fan. In short, Rashmi, like Lakshmy, is a controversy magnet.
Are You Ok Baby? is structured like one episode of the show, and it portrays both aspects of the programme. We see the people who are putting the episode together (including Rashmi), and the politics inside the show. The director, for instance, cannot stand his star-anchor. And on the other hand, we see the subjects, the people who become part of this episode woven around a young woman who gave up her child for adoption and now wants the little girl back. Abhirami and Samuthirakani play the adoptive parents who are middle-aged, and will not therefore be granted custody of an infant. So they have resorted to slightly shady means to get a baby. Is this a case of child-trafficking? As opposed to this well-adjusted, affluent couple, we get the biological, lower-middle-class parents, who are filled with all the "vices" Rashmi’s show likes to bring up. The man is a drunk. The woman has had multiple abortions.They are living together. And so forth.
It is really brave of Lakshmy Ramakrishnan to open herself up on screen like this, and to her credit, she does not make Rashmi a victim. But the film never takes off. It is all concept and no execution. The dialogue, the acting, the staging – everything is flat and the whole thing moves along like a clunky mega-serial episode. Director Mysskin shows up as the head of the Child Welfare Committee, and he is too large a personality to play this kind of regular-guy part. But to add to the meta-ness, he spouts some very Mysskin-esque bits of philosophy. Finally, we are left with a film that struggles to balance its meta-commentary with a story about two sets of parents battling it out over a baby. On the one side, the fourth wall is broken. The other side strives to maintain the illusion of invisible storytelling. Despite good intentions, the result is all over the place.