Saturday, August 09, 2008

Movie Review: Subramanyapuram

The movie's beauty lies in the way it juxtaposes the infatuation of several people. Between a boy and a girl. Between 4 youths and their employer. Later between two youths and their employer. More importantly the infatuation of a friend with another. The dubious and fragile nature of this sort of infatuation is exploited in this movie. The movie brings out the randomness of trust and essentially says no one knows how it is forged. In a very classy way. I tell you this movie has style. We are shocked, incredibly so, several times because the director chooses to be less contrived during certain situations.

Sometimes parents, who keep warning their children on various forms of infatuation, can predict the ruin of a child exceptionally well. The movies that shows rebels as succeeding in life don't tell you the full story. Subramanyapuram, which switches narration between a stabbed person in a hospital in 2008 and the lives of 4 men in 1980s, tells us exactly that. This is probably the best movie to release this year. It does not start off remarkably well, however. In fact this movie reminded me of the meandering methods of Paruthiveeran. There are times during the first half where you wonder what the hell is this movie all about. It focuses on how people of Subramanyapuram lived their lives. What prestige and self-esteem was to them. It gives us a peek into their culture. From one perspective there is no life there. Its a sad place. But one could enjoy the simplicity of that life if one chooses to. The contract for kovil thiruvizha and party meetings seem like an adequate career that one can grow old with.

Most of the characters seems like someone you already know or could get to know. The mother (a widow) of one youth is sad that her son isn't getting serious in life. The elder brother of another youth refuses to talk to him until he mends his ways. They are all people who use the standard ego-based persuasion techniques to woo youth from some infatuation or other, which work with dubious success in most homes. Interestingly, the viewer finds these old people irritating. The 4 youths are thugs who who work for local politician who was an ex-councilor but now has hit a road block in his political life. If the story gave that politician any cadre higher than councilor the movie would have failed. The small-time nature keeps everything balanced. The youths receive some sort of self-esteem and status because they think they work for a politician. They have decided to escape from life by servicing this politician. Their rowdyism is like typing skills or short hand skills. Its their competence with which they have to live a life. It looks ugly to us but they are normal people. They aren't even scary. They can just get violent whenever they want and so think that's a skill set they can improve on. They literally try and build a career around it.

The violence in this movie aids the pace of the story. Like several successful templates have done before - this movie too ends strong. Unlike Sethu and Paruthiveeran (where only the last 20 minutes were good) this movie has a fantastic second half. It almost makes you forget the slow(er) first half. The guy-who-looks-like Vijay-in-chennai-28 seems to be playing one of the four guys (that's what I guessed from the voice). I couldn't recognize the other 3 characters (or for that matter any other character). There isn't much scope for performance as most of the people are hidden behind beards and I couldn't discern any subtlety in their expressions. It is a good thing that these were 4 arbit people. I am prety sure Vikram, Vijay or Ajith would have screwed up this perfectly good movie in the name of heroism for the masses. New faces seems the only way the audience can get to see good movies today.

One song, the love song, was very good. Apparently Sun TV James Vasanth is the MD. There are several 80s themes that this movie shows. I loved the ink pot type of things that is shown in that song. Today's directors and cameramen have techniques where some part of the frame momentarily provides an extreme close-up while the rest is shown normally. The frames where the break open a whisky bottle or where one bearded guy hands over a coin - shows the bottle and coin in close-up and the rest in normal mode. This is oft-used but fascinating technique. All-in-all I am glad a thoughtful person recommended this movie to me. I highly recommend it to everybody. Note: This movie has violent sequences that may not be suitable for children.

7 comments:

Prasadh said...

The hero name is Jai and he is MD Deva's brother's son. The other guy who is the friend of the hero is the director of the movie Sasi.

maduraiveeran said...

The Settings for 80's Madurai were very Authentic. The phone number that the villian dials is 5 digits. This movie is one of the best with a very good screenplay.

Anonymous said...

Ah -- Hawkeye is back in form...
Thanks dude, good review.

Although you still haven't told me how you get to watch all these new releases promptly sitting in Seattle.


T.

sweety said...

I lovd the beginning........

Rammy said...

nice work dude..

vysakh said...

memmorable movie in my lyf. industry needs new talents like sasikumar.

Anonymous said...

one of the memorble movies in my lyf,