I had seen quite a few movies a recently and I thought I can comment on a few. One that I was most impressed by was “Kudaikkul Mazhai”(Rain within Umbrella), scripted, directed, produced and performed by Parthipan. I was expecting something different from this film, but nothing prepared me for what I saw. Given that most of the film took place in an old bungalow, I thought it would be similar to either “Kadhal Kondean” or “Julie Ganapathy”. But I couldn’t be more wrong. The story shows how a sensitive man is very much disturbed when a girl pretends to love him for a candid camera show. It then shows how he is afflicted with schizophrenic delusion and from then on proceeds to the rest of the story. I wouldn’t like to spoil the suspense by revealing anything, but there is a sudden twist at the end, which puts the entire story at a different perspective. But there are numerous clues for this throughout the film, for instance, that the rest of the film has a surreal feel and also that heroine seems to behave in a way that is strangely ideal, as the hero would like her to. Well I guess I have already revealed quite a bit! The twist is some ways similar to one in “The sixth sense” though the story has nothing to do with it. The dealing of illusions is in some vague way similar to “A beautiful mind”, though when comparing with that, this story ends where that really begins. Though I am comparing with other films for their style, the content and presentation is startlingly fresh and I have certainly not seen this in any other film before. Parthipan builds the film with various strange incidents which finally get justified only by the climax. There are numerous symbolic incidents too, a few of which went over my head! But what astounded me was, the professionalism displayed in the film. There is not a single incident, a single scene which is wasted and inserted for commercial sake. Many describe the brother character of hero as unnecessary but on retrospect (again after the climax) it is very much necessary, though those dialogues could have been cut down. Parthipan has not compromised anything for commercial sake, and if the film is intellectually challenging he lets it to be so. With only two main characters the performances are important and both, especially Parthipan have done very well. In all it’s a refreshingly different, moderately entertaining film, even if it strains on your brain. I guess the film hasn’t done well commercially which is not very surprising, though I hope Parthipan continues to take such films!
I also saw “Nandha” directed by Bala, for the second time. This film, which remade Surya as an actor, is quite somber, mostly about relationship between son and mother and ends with mother poisoning her son and killing him and herself. Most films would be clarified on seeing them for a second time, but in this I only got more confused. It is always quite difficult get any intended message out of Bala’s movies and so just as I considered “Sethu” to be only a new kind of love tragedy, I was considering this film as an emotional tragedy. But I did notice something else in this viewing. It seems to show the conflict between violence and non-violence. Rajkiran, who professes violence to right any wrongs and that we are our own god is at one extreme. The other protagonist is, strangely, silent but much more effective. Surya’s mother is appalled at the effect of his violence, like her husband getting killed or about the plight of Rajkiran’s daughter (at the end of the film). Surya is torn between the two, and chooses the path of violence initially though in the end he willingly and knowingly submits to his mother poisoning him. This makes me wonder whether Bala resolves the conflict towards non-violence, though this is too vague an indicator. What impressed me most was that many important twists in the movie are explained by only one dialogue or none at all– just the barely sufficient, no over emphasis or theatrics. For instance, in the climax, the fact that Surya willingly takes the poison gives a new interpretation for the film. But this is shown without even a single dialogue. Surya takes in the food, after tasting it and finding it to be poisoned looks confused one moment, then he looks at his mother with a bitter look which slowly translates to a knowing glance and he finally takes up the rest of the food. This turned out to be the most poetical scene in the film. This is what I consider to be the hallmark of any Bala film. The most important scene which justifies the whole film is dealt with only subtle emotions and no dialogues and no theatrics. Whether it is Vikram in “Sethu” who silently disregards his relatives and goes back to the asylum, not necessarily because he is mentally retarded but because he wants seclusion, or Vikram in “Pithamagan” who disregards his lover and hence the entire society in a single gesture and walks back, or Surya in this movie, Bala confidently rests his entire film on a few powerful gestures, instead of wasting time on lengthy dialogues and theatrics, something which even famed directors like Mani Ratnam don’t do consistently, as was demonstrated in his latest film “Aayitha Ezhthu”. My AE and Pithamagan reviews can be found here and here.
Though this post is already too long, I have to comment about a few more films. Both had revenge as the theme and hence I shouldn’t have liked them. But they gave quite convincing reasons and the presentation was also good and so I should accept that, regardless of the message, they were an entertaining watch. One was “Varnajalam” (Play of colours). This is a fairly recent film and Srikanth had done a grey character very well. This is a story of a personal revenge which is executed coldly and clinically. The story is told quite well, though it appeared a bit confusing to me, probably since I wasn’t watching the film attentively. What impressed me was that there were no insertions to the climax like a new love relation for the hero – it just ended with him taking revenge. However the film sagged in the middle and comedy track by Karunas was a damp squib. The second was “Sabash”, with Parthipan as the hero. I actually started watching this after sometime from the start, but it was quite interesting. This shows how, a husband avenges a person indirectly responsible for her wife’s death by framing him in the same case. There was a constant suspense as to whether Parthipan’s methods would be exposed and how he deals with various challenges. All the actors had performed well. This was also quite professional with no unnecessary stuff. I think these two films were not noticed much, though I don’t know the reason. They were focused on their theme and were quite entertaining, and frankly I don’t expect anything more from a film.
Quite a contrast from the films I have described above was “Minnale”, which was also remade/dubbed in Hindi as something whose acronym is RTDM. This is directed by Gautam who later directed “Kaaka Kaaka” and frankly I couldn’t believe that it was the same person who directed both. I have always believed that a director stamps his identity on all his films, but here I am wrong. Virtually everything that is good in KK is messed up here. One instance is the picturization of the songs. Nice music by Harris Jayaraj and good lyrics has been messed up in the film. Of course the script is itself quite weak and the climax was the expected one. The film also has numerous logical flaws, but I won’t waste time & space by discussing that. Either Gautam must have learned a lot in the time in between the two films or he must be quite inconsistent in the application of his skills and I hope it is the former .