Monday, 10 October 2011

Engeyum Eppothum

2011 by Saravanan - Tamil movie

A friend of mine, a movie buff as much as myselves, is a typical Keralite in the fact that he looks down upon Tamil. He called me after the very first show of Indian Rupee, hailing the revival of Malayalam cinema with yet another great movie with a message and what not. He is interesting because he is typical of the average Malayaalee attitude towards Tamil cinema. He has seen each and every Malayalam movie but he would not do that with Tamil, inspite of boasting as a movie buff. Like most other Malayaalees, he has a specific criteria to decide which Tamil movie to watch. Either it has to be associated with Kamal haassan or Mani ratnam or it should be a Rajnikanth movie (obviously only to laugh and look down upon) or some of the big movies starred by Vijay or Surya, again to just insult these  hard core entertainers as stupid. And recently he has also included Gautham Menon to the list of Kamal and Ratnam. He would not have seen Aadukalam or Mirugam or Angaaditheru and many others if not for my insistence. And he has clear pre conceived notions about the quality of Tamil movies that he is happy to not watch them and still criticize them. And even when he watch  a movie like Aadukalam or Kalloori he simply only wants to nit pick or will say that all these Tamil new age directors are inspired by the 80's Malayalam. He is yet to watch Engeyum Eppodhum and I doubt he will. I had love to know his comments on this one though. I am sure he will be jealous. It is unbelievable that Tamil cinema manages to bring in new directors, one after another, who are all coming out with an incredibly brilliant debut. Saravanan, doesnt have a single dialogue in this movie about his message, but by the end of the movie the message is quite clear with immediate impact. Ranjith can take a point or two from this director on how to get a message across without lengthy dialogues.

One bus going from Trichy to Chennai and a second going from Chennai to Trichy crash each other.

India can top the list of countries infamous for rave driving. And the message in this movie is just that. But just showing an accident cannot make an Indian movie. So Saravanan creates four adorable characters and shows their moments prior to the bus ride, nicely entwined with the bus ride. The result is a nice love story of two couples, ending up on a fatal bus ride.

There are four brilliant characters here, Amudha and Gautham form one pair who met in Chennai. Manimegalai and Kadhiresan form the second pair who meets in Trichy. I cant help rave  about these characters, especially the female characters. Amudha is a typical Indian girl, naive and scared about strangers just like any small town girl arriving into a metro city. Manimegalai is what makes this movie very special. How did Indian cinema had the guts to portray such a female character. A really brilliant female role. I simply wish we will have more writers making characters like Manimegalai, that it can even prompt more ordinary girls to be bold and get out of their silly and helpless image. I salute the man behind this character. Absolutely brilliant and necessary. Some of her acts, like the blood test, is what our women should follow when they are thinking about finding a life partner. I sincerely hope, may be I am being naive here, more and more girls watch this movie and take a cue from Manimegalai rather than Amudha. Amudha is typical of our ordinary girls and this should be our past. Manimegalai should be our future.

The kind of simple and effective humour which accompanies the relationship of these couples is so refreshing and brilliant. If not for the occassional splashing of the accident scenes, we would completely forget that this movie is about a road accident. Yes, there is no surprise about these accident and what is going to happen with the hapless passengers. Inspite of that, it keeps us engaged is not a small feat.

At least some might find the emotional scenes a bit over board, but I am afraid it isnt. Tamil culture is overtly expressional and I found all those scenes quite allright. The director just stuck to the normal ways of his people, rather than making something to please the film festival audiences.

I sincerely salute the makers of this movie. A brilliant movie with a needy message. All the more the character of Manimegalai is definitely the need of the hour, when more and more girls are easily cheated in the modern day gadget world. Manimegalai is what our girl should emulate, rather than being naive like Amudha.

Excellent performances by the 4 leading actors, Jai, Sarva, Anjali and Ananya. Ananya gives us lots and lots of laughter in the beginning and the others too. But I would give my award for Anjali. Her 'I love you' is the best in dialogue delivery in the recent times, for me.

I am really really happy about this movie and wish everybody will watch it, especially our girls and women. Often movies and characters have a direct effect on the ways of our youth. I sincerely hope Manimegalai will influence our young girls.

Well, I cannot help think about Kalloori now. There is a strange similarity in both these movies is a glitch though. 

Indian Rupee

2011 by Ranjith - Malayalam movie

Ranjith definitely is considered a reliable director for Malayalam cinema. I will always sing praises of his Kaiyyoppu and Paleri Manickyam - oru paathira Kolapaathakathinte kadha. Then there are also movies like Praanchiyettan and the Saint, Nandanam and Thirakkadha. Unfortunately though, each and every Ranjith movie is built around certain aspects of Malayalam culture (except in Thirakkadha), which will turn the movie as difficult to comprehend for a foreigner or even an Indian out of Kerala. Ranjith looked very unhappy when Paleri Manickyam and Praanchiyettan, the latter especially, didnt get much accolades in the national awards. The reason is quite clear. His movies are built around genuine Malayaali life with all its subtleties, intricacies and extravaganzas, which are all expressed via dialogues, which only an average Malayaalee can understand. It is impossible to blame those outside Kerala for not giving due credit for Praanchiyettan or Paleri Manickyam. For anybody who does not know Keralan life very well, these movies would look very ordinary. Ranjith has again picked up a plot, which is quite contemporary and ordinary for a Malayaalee.

Two young men are dreaming to make it big in real estate business, as their only hope to climb the ladder to getting rich. Overnight they make some money and when they dream even bigger, they are forced to see the other side of getting rich. 

I can only say that Indian Rupee is a very good average movie. Nothing big nor small. Considering that this is made by a director who gave us movies like Pranchiyettan and Paleri or even Kaiyoppu, Indian rupee is just an ordinary fare. But it is quite simple enough and never goes really overboard that we can give it a very good pass. Nothing more or less. I wish Ranjith looks higher up than Paleri or Praanchiyettan.

Ranjith does try to look into certain aspects of contemporary Keralan life, like the malaise of arranged marriages cherried by dowry and also the urge to find easy money by todays youth. The formal is touched upon by few dialogues only, but it does receive good attention. The latter seems to be the main point behind this movie. One could argue that may be he tried to bring out the infamous ways of real estate brokers and their mal practices to fore through this attempt, rather than pointing out fingers at the greed of our youth. From all what I read, I thought Ranjith aimed for the latter. Eitherways, we have two predecessors in the recent past.

Ividam Swargamaanu, dealt nicely with the mal practices of the real estate mafia to some extent. And Maaya Kannadi (by Cheran in Tamil) portrayed wonderfully the urge of the youth for easy money. Maaya Kannadi definitely is a much better film as it had a beautiful story based on two working class youth characters, well etched out, trying hard to get rich.

Lets forget about all this and just think about Indian Rupee. It is quite simple and is devoid of many routine spicy factors, with a plot which looks very different from the ordinary. Excellent performances by Prithviraj, Thilakan, Tini Tom and Jagathy. And a simple and supportive camera work from S. Kumar (for me Kumar sir is the specialist in Malayalam to give the available light feeling).

So basically it looks refreshing, but is still not devoid of run of the mill cliches. Like the arrival of a friend from the Gulf, when the hero is in need of urgent money and few other things. Some of the characters, like that of Achutha Menon (Thilakan) and the retired doctor in Merkara (Revathy), looks quite vague and strange. And I would also say it was absolutely unnecessary to add two songs in this movie, one of them was horribly picturised too. When will we have a hero who cannot sing or is afraid to take huge decisions like agreeing to make 1 crore rupees in a few days. This is especially strange because at one point the hero is described by his own mother as somebody who doesnt have even Rs.30 in his valet. But somebody is ready to offer him 50lakhs. Anyways..

I wonder how much would this movie help to rise the career graph of Ranjith. For an artiste of his calibre, I would say, either his graph is stagnant or even it has dipped slightly. For, Indian Rupee is no where near Paleri Manickyam, which inspite of its climax glitches looked brilliant. Indian Rupees is just a simple good average movie.