Friday, January 19, 2007

A slice of sunshine

Once in a very odd while, you feel like getting on to a rooftop and crowing gustily: "We still make movies the rest of the world can watch and feel proud of." And once in a very odd while, does a movie come that gnaws your heart so bad, you feel like rushing out of the cinema hall midway just because you can't take all that reality.
Veyyil should redeem that faith: neither the rat-infested aisles of Annai Abhirami nor the frequent drunken snithering of a lout seated halfway across mattered. The movie rises above cliches: neither is its realism stark nor is it stylised, it is realism as you and me live it.
One wonders what it is about Shankar that makes him such a good producer--first Kadhal and now this--but a kitschy director.
The day I went, there were hardly twenty people in the hall, and even that was a desultory crowd. Veyyil has had its run and will never be outwished.
There is a strong remembrance of Devar Magan all through--especially in the eerie presence of the irredeemable cycle of violence that sits across the protagonists' heads even at the most unsuspecting moment, and more so because, in Pasupathi, you have an actor who can out-Kamal Hassan anyone else--and (as friends point out) snatches of Cinema Paradiso, in the way Murugesan's (Pasupathi's character) first romance ends.
It is Pasupathi's movie all through and, according to director Vasanthabalan, Murugesan is his flesh-and-blood spitting image. And what subtleties the actor manages to weave into a performance that a lesser actor could have ended up hamming: the scene, for example, where he tells his father what drove him to run away from the house is an exercise in restraint and yet
chills you to the bones.
One tries in vain to look for a chink in the chain that tells you it is a movie you are watching, and one blessedly fails. Nor for a single moment does the director stray away from a relentless authenticism.
There are those opening moments that bring in a whiff of Azhagi, with all that bare-bottomed rustic humour. Then there is that heart warming sensitivity about life in the butcher's household, about the way life is shown amidst all that animal blood and gore.
The bonding among the boys is natural and never sentimentalised. Even the relationship between parents and offsprings is never overtly played upon. Thus, it seems the most natural thing to happen when little Murugesan, caught red handed by his father for flunking class and going to see a Em-Gee-Yaar movie and made to grovel naked under a hot sun as the whole village watches, scoots home with his mother's jewels and his father's savings, boards a lorry to come to Chennai but gets sidetracked halfway and ends up in a Tirukazhukundram talkies.
From then on starts the parabola of retrubutive justice for neither the family he left behind nor Murugesan ever manage to get their lives together again.
There are several fresh concepts worked into the movie from then till the end: the tender but ill-fated romance between Murugesan and Thangam, the shutting down of the theatre, a gaunt and hungry Pasupathi heading back to a family he had never contacted for nearly twenty years,
the unworked wrath of the father who refuses to take him back, the love of the brother and the coldness of the two sisters.
Dont miss this movie--it may be a long while yet before another one like it comes along.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lest we forget.-II

The day after I came back, feeling all knotty, at the splendid facilities one of the city hospitals claimed it had lined up for attracting foreign clientele, this photograph(if the link does not connect direct to the photo, click on the page 3 on the sidebar) that the Deccan Chronicle had carried of 16-year-old Kalpesh hit me with all its bone chilling pathos. One can debate endlessly over the shock value the paper must have been aiming it, but then this is `unprettified'
reality. If it was meant to disgust, then such disgust is a most welcome response.


Friend Sanjeev Ramachandran has done a fark and come up with this line up on the Ash-Abhishek engagement. Just waiting to see what they will do to Shilpa Shetty...


This is for all ye blogger-bashers: Kiruba Shankar has come up with this
which just goes to prove that the `Indian blogosphere', as Kiruba so lovingly describes it,
is, in reality, the commune of the future. This is as good as one can get.