Friday, February 6, 2009

My second movie review after Dasavatharam, I wanted to make one on slumdog millionaire but somehow buried that decision because I felt that I should not make it a special movie as others have made it through hype. I actually hated(the word disliked would be very mild here) slumdog millionaire for exposing India’s poor side with almost zero logic. Ok coming back to Naan Kadavul, credits must goto Bala for exploring the unexplored area in Tamil Cinema,

1. Physically challenged beggars
2. Aghoris (A type of Shaivate saint of Hinduisim)

[Spoiler ~~~~ Contains the plot of the story. Those who have not watched the movie or intend to do so, don’t read further]

The film starts with an old man and his daughter from Tamil Nadu searching a man named Rudran(Arya) who was left in Kasi before fourteen years on astrolger’s advice. They find that Rudhran is no ordinary man now and he is an aghori (one who believes that He is God). Rudhran’s Guruji asks him to go with his family and return on time after shedding the bounds of family.

Meanwhile in a village called Malaikovil in Tamil Nadu there is a notorious gang which trains the physically challenged to beg. They live with the money which these beggars bring. It is a cruel world which Bala throws light upon. The dungeon like place where these people live itself showcases the pain and suffering of those people.

But those physically challenged people share some lighter moments too. Particularly the conversion between them when they are costumed as different Hindu deities. Allotting different cabinets for them was amazing! There is a kid in the film who has pulled a brilliant performance (His name was not displayed in the titles). He mentions about Ambani to his group. When a guy queries who is Ambani, he replies that he is the one who sells cell phones. There are many such rib tickling one liners in the film.

*Pichai karan kittayey pichai edukkarayey (You are begging from a beggar)
*En annana thozhilathipar aaaki heroinukku katti koddupen (I will make my bro an industrialist and marry him to an actress!)
Are just few samples...

Now coming back to the plot of the film, Amshaveni (Pooja), is a blind woman who sings old film songs to entertain people and gets money from them (yet another form of begging). She lives with people who monoact and mimic like the film actors MGR,Shivaji Ganesan and Rajnikanth. The dialogues by those artists are pretty sharp. MGR’s film songs were meaningful, which helped MGR win votes, but did people follow his advice? And MGR asks Shivaji to teach the current young actors to act(I think Simbhu was clearly the target here!).

A guy named Murugan who belongs to that notorious gang of Malaikovil sees her singing and finds her to be a good asset to their gang and takes her with him, after some drama. After few days of crying, she becomes accustomed with that group. But it’s not happy going for her still. Another guy from Kerala, pays 3 lakhs of money to hire 15 children from the Malaikovil gang. And those children are removed to kerala. The dialogue “Maatu Kari saapitaalum malaiyalathaan moolaiyey moolai” (Even though Mallus eat beef, they are brainy!) was pretty apt there.

Meanwhile Arya who returns to his hometown which is Malaikovil too, doesn’t live in his home, instead he settles in the temple where those beggars beg daily. The same man from kerala who bought the children brings an ugly looking man(he infact resembles the cannibal in worng turn movie) and asks for a blind girl so that, she need not look at him but love with him after marrying him. That ugly looking man is a very rich guy who offers 10 lakhs for the blind girl. Here again the dialogue of Kavundamani “Kozhi kuruda irunthaalum, kuzhambu rusiya irukkanum!” (even if the hen is blind it’s meat is tasty!) fits aptly. Amshaveni fits into the bill exactly thinks the leader of the Malaikovil gang. But Murugan who feels pity for her tries to save her. She takes shelter under Rudran. Rudran kills the man from kerala. He is taken into custody by the police who are afraid of him. They produce him in the court and court releases him because his crime could not be proved.

The leader of the notorious gang wants to revenge Rudhran but he ends dead too.Before his death, he had tortured Amshaveni and had beaten her up heavily. Amshaveni comes to Rudran and asks him what mistake did she do? Right from her birth she had been suffering! She asks for a solution. And Rudran kills her too!

Rudran recalls his master’s words, for some people death is a boon (Siarukku maranam thaan varam). It’s an astonishing climax from Bala. Who had depicted in this film that euthanasia (mercy killing) is the only solution for such people!The story looks pretty simple. But the screenplay and the performance of the actors make it amazing!

It is a very brave attempt from Bala. The surprise in this movie was Arya’s screen performance which was very limited when compared to the promos. And his acting resembles Pithamagan Vikram (especially when police are afraid to talk with him). I believe many of his portions where removed from the film. Another surprise element was Pooja’s performance, especially in the climax where she has done a fabulous job. She is bound to get the national award.

And I nearly forgot to mention about Illyaraja’s music. He has done what is necessary for this film.

To me three people stand out in this movie.

1. Bala (for bringing out the physically challenged people into the scheme of things)
2. Jayamohan (Dialogues)
3. Pooja (Excellent acting)

I never expected Jayamohan to do such an excellent work in the dialogue department (To be honest, I didn't know much about him). Many of his dialogues resembled my thoughts, which moved me close to this film. I had read only one novel by him (Pani Manidhan). It was long time back. This movie has made me to search other works of Jayamohan!

Bala has yet again delivered. He generally disturbs people with his cinema but does not provide a solution. Here for the first time he has provided a brave solution to a problem. I would like to give it a 9.5/10.

I am waiting for the DVD version of the film which is supposed to have two climaxes for this film.

It’s definitely worth a watch. But I don’t think it would suit audience of all category. It’s strictly not for children.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

He met her on a party. She was so outstanding, many guys chasing after her, while he so normal, nobody paid attention to him. At the end of the party, he invited her to have coffee with him, she was surprised, but due to being polite, she promised. They sat in a nice coffee shop, he was too nervous to say anything, she felt uncomfortable, she thought, please, let me go home.... suddenly he asked the waiter. "would you please give me some salt? I'd like to put it in my coffee."

Everybody stared at him, so strange! His face turned red, but still, he put the salt in his coffee and drank it. She asked him curiously; why you have this hobby? He replied: "when I was a little boy, I was living near the sea, I like playing in the sea, I could feel the taste of the sea, just like the taste of the salty coffee. Now every time I have the salty coffee, I always think of my childhood, think of my hometown, I miss my hometown so much, I miss my parents who are still living there". While saying that tears filled his eyes. She was deeply touched.

That's his true feeling, from the bottom of his heart. A man who can tell out his homesickness, he must be a man who loves home, cares about home, has responsibility of home. Then she also started to speak, spoke about her faraway hometown, her childhood, her family. That was a really nice talk, also a beautiful beginning of their story.

They continued to date. She found that actually he was a man who meets all her demands; he had tolerance, was kind hearted, warm, careful. He was such a good person but she almost missed him! Thanks to his salty coffee!

Then the story was just like every beautiful love story , the princess married to the prince, then they were living the happy life... And, every time she made coffee for him, she put some salt in the coffee , as she knew that's the way he liked it.

After 40 years, he passed away, left her a letter which said:

"My dearest,
Please forgive me, forgive my whole life lie. This was the only lie I said to you---the salty coffee. Remember the first time we dated? I was so nervous at that time, actually I wanted some sugar, but I said salt.

It was hard for me to change so I just went ahead.I never thought that could be the start of our communication! I tried to tell you the truth many times in my life, but I was too afraid to do that, as I have promised not to lie to you for anything.

Now I'm dying, I afraid of nothing so I tell you the truth: I don't like the salty coffee, what a strange bad taste. But I have had the salty coffee for my whole life! Since I knew you, I never feel sorry for anything I do for you. Having you with me is my biggest happiness for my whole life. If I can live for the second time, still want to know you and have you for my whole life,even though I have to drink the salty coffee again".

Her tears made the letter totally wet.Someday, someone asked her: what's the taste of salty coffee?

It's sweet. She replied.

This story was a forwarded mail from my friend Kalyani... I was deeply impressed by this story and wanted to share it with you people!