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Game Over: Taapsee Pannu scores high in this sensitively-made psychodrama

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Swapna (a terrific Taapsee Pannu), a video-game designer, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following a sexual assault. We are not shown the exact details, but Swapna is quite afraid of the dark. She sleeps with lights on. She gets panic attacks and attends therapy sessions. Swapna is a survivor and experiences anniversary reaction (this-tends-to-happen-every-year-around-this-time feeling). To be more specific, it is considered the re-experience of a traumatic event that triggers grief, anxiety, loss and pain.

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Swapna works from home. She doesnt live with her parents. She has Kala (Vinodhini) to help her out with household chores. Swapna doesnt treat her as a housemaid but trusts her completely.

A few minutes into Game Over, we are shown a woman getting murdered à la Hitchcock. Her head is chopped. Her body is burnt. There is blood and gore. But thats not Swapna. I like the universe that the film is set in. Ashwin Saravanan takes the audience straight into Swapnas world. You get to know her likes, dislikes and lifestyle, but you never judge her for her flaws. “What if life is a video game and déjà vu are just checkpoints?” and “Real life makes me want to kill people in video games!” You see those words on posters stuck to her living room. Swapna has a tattoo of a joystick on her wrist.

You dont often see a woman video-gamer. That too in a no-nonsense character playing Pac-Man. You dont often see a protagonist attending therapy sessions. Again, you dont often see a supporting character, a cancer survivor. I like how Ashwin Saravanan made me root for his powerfully-written female characters. You get interesting lines —fight like a girl, Seththaalum paravaala; sanda podarom and so on. Thats why its important to have a woman writer on board. (Credit equally goes to co-writer Kaavya Ramkumar). The makers portray Swapna with utmost empathy and sensitivity that I even welled up a little. I like the way the film ended. Ashwin gives Swapna closure and hope.

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There is also another story of Amudha (Sanchana Natarajan) and her mom Dr Reena (T Parvathi) helping Swapna overcome her fear. Undoubtedly, Vinodhini, Sanchana and T Parvathi are the additional lifelines to this film.

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