Sunday, June 9, 2013

Soodhu Kavvum- A twinkle in the serpent’s eye.

What on earth a cinema does?  Why do we keep gazing at the imposing white rectangle of moving images for over a century?  For just entertainment…? Though mainly a pastime, cinema is here for reasons beyond that. There is that charming, visually enriched story teller in cinema who would drain our emotions, tickle us to bouts of laughs, amuse us, elate us, sometimes even enlighten and educate us.Man is eternally attracted to this most enthralling modern day invention which has been inseparably embedded  in every major language-culture of the world, we can say that in cinema runs a parallel history of these cultures too.

Though a serious business, at times cinema can laugh at itself, we have proofs in spoofs and cinema didn't have hesitated to venture out of its notional boundaries and limited number of templates. We have seen mavericks and people who usually do the unusual at film making. Almost all the possibilities are given a try. Out of one such possibility comes to us the ‘unburdened movie’ which a traditional movie buff would scoff at.

Soodhu Kavvum belongs to this ‘unburdened’ category and it relieves us of cinema’s usual clutches while we can enjoy it whole-heartedly. If you expected a picaresque in Tamil Cinema Soodhu Kavvum presents itself with almost in its fullness the ‘details of the humorous adventures of a roguish hero of low social degree living by his wits in a corrupt society’. This is only the story of an amateur kidnapper and his aides with all twists and turns of an usual cinema but the treatment is what that makes the difference. Soodhu Kavvum celebrates ludicrousness and because of just that it becomes so very close to us.

This is the movie in which a fictitious character –Shalu (within the story) is presented without special light effects or dry ice fog. This is the movie in which you see T. Rajendar  on the wall of a bachelors room. This the movie in which we find a kidnapper who takes a day off in the middle of a deal because that day happens to be a Sunday. This is the movie in which the usually most feared and revered encounter-specialist cop is kicked in the ass with a pistol shot. The film consciously prevents itself from leaning towards high emotion (when Shalu dies) or heroic valour ( while handling the encounter-specialist cop).

The entire cast of the movie deserves our praise. Vijay Sethupathy’s is a brilliant performance. His aides also do a commendable job. Dialogue is the forte of this movie. For want of nuanced subtlety from audience Soohdu Kavvum risks being written off for its incongruousness and it could well be the dialogue that comes to the rescue in such a situation. Nalan Kumarasamy and his crew deserve all praise for this healthy trend-setter in Tamil Cinema.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Obvious Agent Arumugam

(Obvious Agent Arumugam is a comical character which I have planned to portray in my upcoming work of fiction. Here is a portion from the write up)

‘The arrogant and the crocodile hardly let go what they have at their hold’ Mimya used this adage when once I was so adamant with my silly argument that had pushed her to the verge of accepting defeat. Obvious Agent Arumugam was one such crocodile I often came across. Obvious Agent Arumugam as his name suggests had no secret operations or missions at his keep but his own living with tantalizing intellectual absurdity skirting freaky pragmatism bundled in pseudo philosophy.

The eloquent Mr.Arumugam was not a typical chatterbox, but a well tuned jukebox and all we needed was to drop coins of innocent questions which would kindle him instantly. He would play his intellectual tunes nonstop. He was dead sure that in the world things were just  the way  he had envisioned them and he had not an iota of doubt that they were the other way around. He loved to talk like a caged parakeet which had starved in self-imposed silence for aeons. Whatever was the matter, he never hesitated to open his mouth and unleash the barrage of words.  His knowledge included everything from Communism to Cannibalism, Adolf Hitler to Haruki Murakami, Arthritis ailment to Automobile expertise. We asked and he said, explained, elaborated and enlightened us without his enthusiasm dropping off a bit.  He had his wits alive as an owl which had its gaze fixed on a prey. He would tell us that how Jenny led an embattled life with Groucho Marx, the meekest of us would ask meekly ‘wasn’t it Carl instead of Groucho, Mr. Arumugam?’, then the owl of his wit would come into play. ‘You know Carl is synonymous to Groucho in German, very few people in history knew that Carl had been affectionately called as Groucho, even sometimes as Khrushchev’.

Arumugam was known for his uncompromising tidiness, for him godliness was next only to cleanliness. He was three times more cleaner when compared to any one of us. He washed his plate once before eating and twice after the meal. He would just sniff at the cup of steaming hot coffee and say that the cup had been washed only twice. Self-trumpeting came so naturally to Mr. Arumugam but he had the ability to sheath it in seemingly uncontrived humility.  When Obvious Agent Arumugam gets hold of a fart which can’t sting even the humblest of noses he would make tall claims to the levels of holocaust gassing and the never found WMD of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Yet he dared not to let go the fart through the butt portion of his pants beneath which, as some of us strongly believed, he had his divine brain. ‘You have your souls in your butt cleavage’ a poet wrote and Obvious Agent Arumugam chose to have his mind there for reasons not so obvious to us. For him the fart that passes through as a fart is something unacceptable since it was from his butt hole.

Without the likes of  Arumugam the world would be a place of acute oscitancy, so we are much indebted to them. By being so obviously sober they cause us our discreet laughs.