Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Thavamai Thavamirundhu

The movie is simply life through the lens. Cheran seemed to have started a new genre with this movie, i would like to call it Nostalgic-Realism. Lately his movies deal with themes that dig into every ones heart and bring out those treasured nostalgic/sentimental moments. His success lies in the way the script triggers those emotions in every one who is watching the movie. He was able to do that well in autograph, but in this movie even though he has done a good job, i feel it is little incomplete.

The movie narrates a story that you would have definitely come across somewhere. Somebody might have told you about their father or it might remind you off your own dad. A story of a typical indian father, who sacrifices everything for his childrens.It follows the life of Mr.Muthiah through the eyes of his son ramalingam.No wonder he was able to take a movie for 7 hrs.You can take a movie running for 1000's of hours if you start making movies about the sacrifices of an indian parent. But the movie will be remarkable only when it focuses on a well defined story. Cheran has failed here.He just presents a man life plainly and meanders into various things other than the idea of a father's sacrifice.

Autograph was a man's journey through his love life which comes to a beautiful conclusion at his marriage. There was a definite structure and end in autograph but TT lacks that. This movie could be ended in many places, like when the son takes his parents to madurai and makes them happy.They reap the benifits of their sacrifices.Happy days from now on, THE END.Or as soon as the father dies,when the father's important question is answered, when the father feels that he is complete.But cheran has dragged the movie 10 minutes after the death and shows how he takes his fathers responsibility, by which he is shifting the focus on himself than on the father.

Cheran basically failed to understand the fact that the hero is rajkiran and not himself. His major screw up lies there. The movie's central point being the father, it should stress more on him and his sacrifices. But cheran occupies as much time as rajkiran, in the movie.His love life and how he suffers in chennai plays out for almost 45 minutes. These scenes could have been edited and presented in a concise manner than the played out "kadhal" style city scenes. And i dont understand cheran's logic behind putting sabesh & co as music directors for a senti movie like this.

Well that is the bad part, but the movie has lot of good things to offer.First off all cheran has to be appreciated for taking a movie without heavy masala.There are so many stories in every family that could be told beautifully, but directors hardly venture outside the masala formulae. Cheran has showed that a beautiful movie could be made from simple, daily life subjects and still touch people deeply.

Another thing that i like about cheran and Bala is there realistic approach and their use of the backdrop. They go back to the roots.The effect of maniratnam on the contemporary tamil directors is, everyone is now trying to define "what is hip?".Visually pleasing movies with shallow, stylish characters and city backdrop have become the defacto standards for tamil movies.Cheran and bala are two guys who go back to show the tamil nadu that is beyond chennai.I was delighted to see the beauty of the ramnad/sivaganga district in the silver screen. The Noongu vandies and maavilakku made me wonder when was the last time i saw them in a tamil movie?.Jeez, how city centric tamil movies have become.If at all if you see a village it will be gopichettipalayam or kovur in tamil movies.Seeing Sivaganga on screen was very refreshing, it is one of those beautiful places not many people know about.The movie has excellent art direction too.

On the acting front cheran had made everyone act well.But he himself failed. Like illayaraja's who thinks that he has a great voice,cheran also is harbouring a wrong idea that he is a good actor.If some one is floating a petition pleading cheran not to act, count me in.Raj kiran has done a nice job and saranya was awesome. The last saranya movie that i saw was raam, where her acting was very good and now this movie has made her my favorite. There is an interesting scene where the dad rajkiran asks his son about his future. what kind of a work that he can do, where he can find a job etc. The mother saranya does not bother about anything, she cuts there conversation many times only to solve her biggest concern. what kind of a dish she has to prepare for her son. Her son's future does not matter, all she is worried about is what kind of a chutney she has to prepare for dosai.Yes this is a realistic movie.

The anni character was also good. Raj kiran has done a very good job,I wont use superlatives for his acting, cause this is how normal acting should be. Tamil audiences have been made to believe that over acting and dramatics are great acting. We need movies like this to show us that an actor's purpose is to get us involved in the story more than dramatics and self promotion. Imagine if raj kiran's role was done by kamala hassan(Its another thing that if he acted in this movie he would have acted the roles of the two sons also).He would have used a make up that will totally change him. There will be 20 interviews on how he was applying the make up for 3 hours and how much trouble he took etc.Which would have been totally un necessary to the movie. Can u imagine kamal doing a scene like raj kiran's chennai visit. There is not much of dramatic acting there, but those few words "Yaen pa ippadi panney" is enough, you can feel the pain of that hurt soul.If it would have been kamal, it would have become a dramatic crying(howling) and over acting scene. The story might not make an impact on you, but definitely everyone will come out and say what a great actor he is. The actor wins, the story suffers. In order to do these kind of characters you have to feel the character from within, in your soul and when you feel it inside you, big expressions hardly matters. Over acting and makeup gimmicks are for people who cannot feel the characters within them. Raj kiran, job well done.

Like the italian Neo realist Vittorio De Sica's classic "The bicycle theif", the question in this movie is also the same, being a good father.I can't recollect any tamil movie that was made on father son sentimental relationship like this.Its an area director's dont venture that much.I can only think of very few movies, like De Sica's "The Bicycle Thief", Roberto Benigni's "Life is beautiful" and Gul Bahar Singh's "Dattak".Cheran has ventured in that "road less traveled" and produced a nice movie, a movie that talks about a father who's whole purpose is to not fail in his duties as a dad.Raj kiran asks, THE important question at the end to his son."Did i fail to fulfill your wishes?". Essentially meaning Did i fail in my duty as a father?. A defining moment.The very purpose of that man's whole life is in question.What was the reply?. well you have to see that in the movie.

The movie has lot of holes and it could have been done in a better way. But compared to its contemporaries, it is a great movie. You may find some fault in this movie like me, but I dont think anybody can out rightly reject this movie. Cause it is bound to touch the heart of anyone who sees it, Which in itself is a success for the movie.I hope cheran will correct his mistake in the future, which includes putting a full stop to his acting career, and keep making quality movies. Overall, kudos to cheran for taking a movie which deals with an universal concept. All he has to do is polish the edges and make a well focused presentation to transcend the regional barrier.

hey i too felt it was modified for the commercial audience. But I dont quite get that 'well defined story' you mentioned? A movie does'nt need to conclude anything right?
Visually pleasing movies with shallow, stylish characters and city backdrop have become the defacto standards for tamil movies

can't agree more :)

He was meandering with the story.There were lot of realistic and intreseting scenes, but many a times it was not adding anything to the central theme of the movie.He could have cut them down and presented a compact movie. that's what i meant.
Cheran does "experiment" with cinema unlike many "commercial" directors but he is in danger of getting typecase as a director of a particular movie genre. I would like him to break free of that mould :-)
very often, being different doesnt necessarily mean being good. IMO, autograph would fall into this category - once we start appreciating something for not being something else, we start lowering the bar. Like the cycel they go through in Bollywood - in the 80's they had violent movies so when a Qayamat Se Qayamat Comes along it must be "Refreshingly different and good ". Eh?
Similarly, when this cycle goes on for long and "Satya" comes along it must be good because it is different from the "love stories churned out dime-a-dozen".

It is , I believe, this comparison attitude that is more dangerous than formula movie making. This is just formula in negation :-)
ennada, romba naaLa Annathe-ya vambukku izhukalayennu paarthen!! Edho app-appa nenacha seri!!!
yeah i think he will improve.. i hope so.. :).

you are right, most of the times movies are evaluated with the current prevailing scenario.That's why in my review i pointed out what ever the movie lacks.

But i dont think autograph falls into the category.It is not the run of the mill love story.SO many love stories get made every year, but how many touches your heart?.Looking back at your life is something that everyone loves to do.It is universal,Everygrown up men looked back at his life after watching autograph.It is a positive movie that touched everyone.Bunch of my friends went to remote corners of tamil nadu to give their marriage invitation to their old crushes and forgotten friends,offcourse inspired by the movie.That is the success of the movie.It doesn't fit into any formula, it might have started a new one, that is different.

Can't help it.Wasn't preplanned, It just flows out of me. :)
you are absolutely spot on about cheran and bala showing real tamil nadu.
the other day i was speaking to vatsan and keerthi and they colly referred viluppuram as south tamil nadu :)
for them anything south of chennai is south tamil nadu:)

me a mani ratnam and kamal fan but yr observations abt them are correct - shallowness in treatment for commercial purposes...

they often take more than a leaf or two from foreign movies as well.

in that regard i appreciate guys like cheran...
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