Kaloor Dennis , who was one of the most successful writers for Malayalam movies of the 80s and 90s scripted Aa Raathri, a story with a difference for the time and age peppered with cliches nevertheless. Ravi (Mammootty) marries an orphan Indu (Poornima Jayaram) against the wishes of his family. They have a daughter Mini (Baby Anju) and has been leading a contended family life. In a chance encounter during a routine train journey, they meet Radha (Rohini) who apparently runs away from home to escape the advances of her step father. Radha apparently is in search of her cousin, Venu (Ratheesh) who Ravi tries to seek out in Trivandrum.
In yet another chance encounter, while watching Moonram Pirai in a theater, a couple of young sexually starved retards (Lalu Alex and Cochin Haneefa) tries the usually enacted molestation pranks on Indu. In the darkness of the movie hall, Indu responds by slapping the face of the more decent friend of these lowlifes sitting behind her, who happen to be the very same Venu, Ravi has been searching for. The delinquents use that as an excuse to extract revenge by kidnapping and raping Indu the same night.
The movie really comes to life in so many planes after the incident, in how Ravi deals with the situation as a caring but disturbed husband, Indu as the grieving , emotionally and physically scarred wife and how the society, that somehow makes the victim a laughing stock deals with the situation. The relationship between one's physical self and the mental self is the nuance of the story that makes rape one of the saddest and cruelest forms of human behavior. Unable to bear the mental agony from the incident and what the lame law of the land and society puts her through, Indu, eventually commits suicide.
Coincidences galore, with the character of Abdu/Gopiyettan (MG Soman), his relationship with the protagonists, how Venu redeems himself , getting married to Radha, are all extremely rushed as the craft of film making in Malayalam those days wasn\'t mature enough to handle how these things happen in real-life. The screenplay and editing would be widely different had the same story been remade 30 years from when it was first made. Instead of spending incredible amounts of time exploring the physical relationship of a married couple, the focus would rightly be on developing the characters of the post traumatic phase. In the climax of the movie, Ravi and Gopiyettan kills the rapists thereby avenging the revenge. Both of them are put away by the law entrusting young Mini in the hands of Radha and Venu.
The movie will be remembered for its phenomenal music by Ilayaraja and those timeless classics rendered by Yesudas,Janaki and of course Jayachandran. The movies of that era required several unnecessary ingredients to cater to the lowest common denominator which might make this movie lose its meagre glow when watched in a different era. One of the earliest movies of the Joshi, he leaves his trademark blood, violence, car chases and melodrama on each of the critical scenes in the movie.