The movie Serious Men follows the life of the father and son- Ayyan Mani and Adi Mani. Because Ayyan Mani grew up in poverty and did not want to stay in that state, he comes up with an elaborate plan to showcase his son as a genius to the world. Since he works as an assistant to an astronomer, Ayyan makes his son memorise complex scientific statements which no one can understand as a way to fool people into thinking that he is a genius.
In the beginning the fraud seems to work well for the family because many people buy into their concocted narrative. Many highly profile industrialists and politicians use Adi’s supposed talents for their own agenda, in the process rewarding the family for Adi’s efforts. He gains considerable fame along the way and becomes a national hero.
But soon the deception starts to crack. Adi confides in his friend Sayali about the hoax which she then uses against him. Ayyan’s boss Dr. Arvind in a conversation with Adi understands that he is not a genius and decides to expose the scam. The industrialists and politicians who were using Adi also find out the truth and threaten Ayyan.
Adi himself finds it incredibly hard to keep up the appearance and is always scared of people coming up to him and asking him questions. Adi cracks under the weight of the pressure and passes out in the middle of his speech on stage. He later has a mental breakdown at home, crying and reciting the speech constantly. Adi paces around his room aimlessly and Ayyan is horrified when he sees Adi bang his head on the wall frantically.
When Ayyan finally confesses to his wife who was ignorant all along, he justifies it by saying that he did all this for Adi and the family. But his wife Oja sees through Ayyan’s motivations and states that it was never for Adi but that he was trying to fulfil his own desires through his son. She accuses Ayyan for using Adi as a pawn so that he could finally achieve a false sense of accomplishment.
The movie shows the extreme lengths to which a person would go to live out their deep desires through another. Ayyan deeply loves his son but is unaware of the psychological trauma he is causing him as he forcefully uses Adi to achieve the great success that he himself was never able to achieve. His lost opportunities becomes a way for him to justify his massive deception.
In the end though we see harmony when everyone accepts the truth and the reality of their situation. When Ayyan is able to give up his desire he is able to live in peace with himself and the family. Adi is taken out of the prestigious school and put in a government school which the family can afford. He no more has the pressure of being a genius who is always in the spotlight but is content in being an average s
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