Tuesday, July 17, 2012
On Watching Movies, Vazhakku En 18/9
Not a Review of the movie. But mostly my thoughts on why a person likes a movie vs not a like a movie. I wouldn't have written about this movie if I hadn't written ( a few weeks ago) a post that involved the 3-idiots movie. I sense that there is a continuum on the levels of exaggeration a director can resort to in order to make his point. After a particular threshold (and this changes per viewer) the movie looks comical and relatively 'unreal'. Two directors may employ very similar techniques (stereotype+exaggerate, remove shades of gray to emphasize their point) but the magnitude of exaggeration and purpose for which they exaggerate (enhance story vs enhance masala) makes the difference.
Vazhakku En 18/9 was a very disturbing movie. I actually loved the movie. I felt immersed into the characters and cared about them. The main story of the movie was deep, different and very touching. Outside of the main story - the contrast between two sections of the society - shown in a black and white way - seemed like the underlying point the director is trying to make. And he exaggerated the relative morality of the two classes as part of telling his story. But I felt the vehicle that was used to make this point - i.e. the actual story of the movie - took control and over-whelmed me to an extent where I didn't mind the rather poorly balanced class based stereotypes portrayed in the movie. I found this interesting because in 3 Idiots, I had the complete opposite experience where the stereotypes the director uses for purposes of making his underlying point were so annoying and misleading that they dominated the rather weak story line of the movie. I felt an invisible line was crossed.
Probably because one aspect of the "director's touch" in Vazhakku En 18/9 resonated with me. This is a subjective observation because it isn't necessarily part of the movie's central story but is an underlying voice that passes social commentary as the story progresses. Balaji Sakthivel argues against the trend of today's society. Outside of the main class-based contrasting - Balaji Sakthivel seems to be making a secondary point as well. He shows that economically richer parents either (a) neglect their children or (b) are the reason for children's poor ethics or (c) do try to take care of their children in the best way possibly but cannot compete with the growing moral decadence of the society that uses new technology to make the world very unsafe for school going girls/children. I agreed with this part of the secondary narrative. Bringing out this nuance in an effective way made me think that the richer class were projected in a more true-to-life sort of way compared to the poor class. In comparison to 3-idiots: while both worlds were distorted to fit the movie format, I felt the distortion of this movie's world fell within a threshold of acceptability. Probably because it enhances the central story. It felt more 'real' than the way 3-idiots portrayed the world to make its point.