Back To The Future

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS NO SPOILERS

There is a particular feeling that I get whenever I watch a Mani Ratnam film. I guess it could be described as contentment. But it does not stop there as it goes on to spark this discussion within myself and with others. I want to talk about the various aspects of the film and that for me is the hallmark of a film by the master. As for Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, there is a lot to talk about. It ranges from the technical details to the scenes that made it and some that should have made it. But one thing was clear to me seeing the film, this is Mani Ratnam reinventing himself. Even a filmmaker as famed as himself is not above criticism and there were a few aspects that I did not like about his previous film. To see him go in a more commercial vein, feels exhilarating. This is his way of showing that he can make a film that is more crowd pleasing and yet have his own flourishes in them.

ccv2

 

As for the film, this is one of the more intriguing films that Mani Sir has made since the turn of the millennium. I read a review that said the film would have worked better if it had been made in two parts and I’m inclined to agree with that line of thought. These characters are fascinating from the outset, so it would have been nice to explore them a little more. It is to the credit of the screenplay that we are left wanting more. The film manages to feel like both a throwback to the Nayagan and Thalapthi days but it feels fresh. If this is the direction that Mani Ratnam is going to go in, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

PS: It is genuinely heartening to see this crimson sky turn into box-office gold.

Until next time, bye.

A Change Of Pace

In the history of Tamil cinema, there have been many memorable female characters. Although the proportion is too little, every now and then we are greeted with something that is for lack of a better word, nice. These films show that it is possible to have women in the film and use them for something other than titillation. In that vein, I would like to talk about a female character I really like. She is not someone who immediately comes to mind when we discuss the best roles written for women. She is not someone who fights against the evils of society, yet she is strong in her own way. I am talking about Ganga from Dumm Dumm Dumm. Played by Jyothika, she is one of Tamil cinema’s more underrated women.

dumdd

So, what makes her special? There are a few things that are impressive about her. First, it is her desire to do well in life and not just marry the first person her father chooses. It also helps that her father is so supportive of her; so that’s refreshing to see as well. Even when the marriage is stopped at the beginning of the film, she doesn’t break down – she continues her journey. You may ask what is so special about this given the fact that so many millions of women do this. I feel that this is precisely what makes her special. When we talk about strong women on screen, more often than not, we have an image of a woman fighting against society. Ganga is fighting as well, but it is at a different level. It is no surprise that such a character came from the mind of Mani Ratnam, who co-wrote the script. To conclude, the character of Ganga is not revolutionary but her relatability is what makes her great. And a special mention has to be made for Jyothika who gives the character so much charm and depth, that we too end up falling in love with her.

Until next time, bye.

The Fight For Power

Iruvar is without a doubt one of the finest films ever made in India. It is a perfect mix of art and entertainment that is sure to leave one feeling awestruck at its brilliance. There is so much to talk about with a film like this. One of them is the historical significance of the story it depicts. And if you know anything about the history of Tamil Nadu, you know how important the two protagonists are. Today, I would like to focus on one scene in particular. It is the scene where Mohanlal’s character goes to the office of Prakash Raj and asks to be made a minister. In other words, it is for the fight for power. Not only is it key to the development of the story, the two actors are able show what acting is in just a few minutes.

iruvar1

This expression, I feel, is acting at an incredibly high level. What we see is a man who has his pride damaged but does not want to show it. He did not expect to be rejected for the minister’s post. The scene also manages to show the distance that has grown between the once great friends. Where we usually see them close to each other, the table in the metaphorically shows the distance among them. Though there is only one expression in this picture, the whole scene has the both of them portray a range of emotions with such subtlety that you may miss it. This is not an easy thing to do.

iruvar2

A fascinating aspect of the relationship between Tamizh Selvan and Anandhan is the love and respect they have for each other till the very end. Though their political ambitions end up making them rivals, they remain friends rather than foes. There is a constant shift in power throughout the film. At the end, one feels that Tamizh Selvan’s monologue shows the feeling of powerlessness. Without his friend, he feels lost. This is how the movie ends but we all know how real life turned out to be.

Until next time, bye.