In 1985, 3 different films of great directors came simultaneously with surprisingly the same story line - A middle aged man's extra-marital friendship with another girl. Sindhu bhairavi [ Nov-11-1985 : KB ], Mudhal mariyaadhai [ Jan-01-1985 : BR ] and Chinna veedu [ Nov-11-1985 : Bhagyaraj ]. The difference is how they worked out the script and visualized the story. Similarly, Pithamagan, Paruthi veeran and Subramaniapuram have common characters, love and story but the way the stiry is treated, made all 3 unique and special. A thug, his lover [ school going or polytechnic - rendum onnu dhaan :) ], another rustic friend with no lover, Thiruvizhaa, the killings, no modern gadgets, gory murders, the climax, Madurai, theni, Kamudhi are common in these movies. Coincidentally, they share the Guru sishyan chain.. Bala -- Ameer -- Sasikumar.
For me, including a cell phone makes a big difference in the script. If cell phone was used by Ajith and Devayani in Kadhal kotai, there wouldn't ve been a chance for such a dramatic climax. Director Sasikumar cleverly avoided this gadget tortures by taking the story to 1980s. However, he was so meticulous in using almost all the possible elements of 1980s.. not only the bell bottom pants and 'kazhudhai kaadhu ' collar shirts. What a nice thought !.
Have you ever wondered why youngsters in Madurai were so much involved in cinema n politics ?! I remember one article analyzed this and concluded that there were no industries came up in Madurai region [ like BHEL in Trichy, LC in Neyveli, SAIL in Salem, Mills in Coimbatore ] and hence the people were attracted to cinema and politics, during the period mentioned in this movie. This story revolves around 5 jobless youngsters in a small time village and their experiences.
The story, set in the 1980s, happens in a town called Subramaniapuram, a suburb of the city. It is built around 5 friends, importantly Azhagar, Paraman and Kasi. They are jobless and involve in small time street fights and become visitors to the local police station. An ex-councilor and his family stays in the same area, helping the friends gang in needy times. Azhagar falls in love with the councilor's daughter Thulasi. Insults and isolation triggers the events in the rest of the story. We never know how a change happens in life and why we undergo changes. Whether we accept or not, it happens !
The film starts with a dark n rainy day out of Madurai Jail. All the great movies use flashback effectively. That attracts us to get into the story. [ Remember Muthal mariyadhai opening scene - Why Malaichamy thevar sickly lies in a cot of an isolated riverside hut !! ]. Similarly, Who comes out of the jaiil, What happens when he is released kind of questions.. In the previous days, films starts with a song considering late coming audiences [ படம் ஆரம்பிச்சி ரொம்ப நேரம் ஆச்சுங்களா.. [ நேரம் ஆகி இருந்தாலும் ].. இல்லைங்க.. இப்பம் தான்.. ஒரு 5 நிமிசம் இருக்கும்.. காலை மிதிக்கறீங்க பிரதர்.. :) ]. The movie then travels from 2008 to 1980.
The three elements shown in the film are friendship, love and perfidy.
Friendship part is shown so naturally. The 5 friends Azhagar, Paraman, Kasi, Dopu, Dumkaan spend time in Sithan sound services. For me, drinking tea or having a fag can depict the friendship fluidly [ that's what we do when we gather.. டீ சொல்டா மச்சான்.. அப்டியே 2 கிங்ஸ்..] They are jobless but happy. They spend their quality time in Sithan's shop, local bar, bus stand, tea shop, cinema theatre. But everyone has their own idea about living. Azhagar falls in love with Thulasi. Paraman somehow doesn't accept this as she is from the ex-councilor’s family. They believe that the family helps them during troubles. The beauty is they don't even own a cycle - they use sithan's cycle. This shows their social status and been used later cleverly when they take another cycle for a purpose. Paraman angrily gets involved in whenever Azhagar falls in any trouble and they are very close friends except Paraman warns Azhagar about his love.
Love : The burden of telling a love tale is reduced tremendously when you have the right casting in place. Swathi was the perfect choice for Thulasi and her eyes do more then what the director wanted to convey [ Swathi vandhaa Sasikumar-i marandhuduven :) ]. Azhagar and Thulasi share very less dialogues in the film. Sometimes, a song can speak for the director and Kangall Irandaal song speak volumes of their love. Watch out for the fantastic costumes worn by the Azhagar and Thulasi in the song. [ Thaavani and blouse are in same colour as in 1980s.. Saamee ! ].
Betrayal: In the outlook, everyone was playing their part quite well. The characters are introduced with their mindset and qualities.. For example.. Kasi favours people of his caste and in need of money, always. But when there's an issue everything gets different and the problem begins from there. And the consequences were shocking and gory. The trigger comes from the ex-Counselor’s wife insulting him and the cascading effect in the family. Kanagu mentions this as 'Pombalainga kooda madhikalainaa apram enna'. This triggers the team and the rest changes their lives. The betrayal is shown when the victim(s) stop opposing what happens to them like Azhagar, Paraman, Kanjaa karuppu, Kanagu, Thulasi. It's not just one betrayal but it's a chain. Kanagu expresses anger, insult, pain, vengeance, cunningness fluidly in his eyes, body language and performance. The betrayal makes us stunning as the characters become motionless and express their inability to digest the treachery.
I favour the best part as the screenplay and the casting. Director Sasi has done a wonderful n bold job.
What are the elements you can think of 1980s ? Paavadai thavani, bell bottom, rippled hair style, bearded youngsters, Rajinikanth cinema, Lamby scooter, wired chair, green ambassadar car, Radio news and Saroj Narayanswamy, Idhayak kani MGR rikshaw stand, Ilayaraja songs, LP records [ Melodies of Yesudoss ], large cone shaped speakers, betromax lights, Solidaire 4 band TV with distorted images and dots [ we had tri-coloured aditional screen for a BW TV, TV antenna at the height of a eucalyptus tree, boosters :) ], Thiraigaanam, Neyar viruppam, advertisement in cycle bar area, Photo studios with flower designs background, rettai jadai and ribbon [ Ribbon vacha ore heroine - thani para-la vachikkaren ], Mahalakshmi dollar, jimiki, big buckled belt, cinema posters, wall advertisements [ eyetex / tortoise / narasus coffee ], coffee bar with family rooms, sithan sound services, Jatkaa, cycles. These observations are the success of the art director Rembon.B and costumer K.Natarajan [ New guys ]. Though it's illogical for the local guys to have such a great wardrobe, we can ignore it in the name of appreciatiing the taste.
Music.. IR is a musicpedia.. Anyone can refer his music, songs in any of the Tamil films. The film starts with a serious title music with showing the shady n dark night life of Madurai [ Similar to one shown in "Kaadhal" ]. Apart from the mesmerising songs, James used IR's 'Siru ponmani asaiyum' so aptly in this movie for the lovers and the Muratu Kaalai song for a celebration in the threatre. Watching Rajini movie's first show is definitely a celebration. I easily forgot the 'Kallukull eeram' version of Siru ponmani asiyum and remember this [ Similarly, I relate Mambazhaam maambazam Vijay song to Anjathey's area light music party - Sathya.. Sarakku saapduvamaa :) ].
The heroine introduction is so poetic with the bits from Kangall irandaal song in piano and flute and of course, the most catchy song in the film [ "pEsa enni sila naall" line resembles "Thanimayile oru raagam" song - of course, we can leave this as the composition is for 1980s ]. Similarly, the Thiruvizhaa sequence [ the black humour creates a sag in the movie ] score is good. James Vasanthan did a wonderful job in his debut film.
Thulasi. the heroine with "i-max" eyes and a beautiful smile :).. I better take the help of Na.Muthukumar to talk about her.
கறுப்பு வெள்ளை பூக்கள் உண்டா
உன் கண்ணில் நான் கண்டேன்.. உன் கண்கள்
வண்டை உண்ணும் பூக்கள் என்பேன்.. நா.முத்துக்குமார்.
Cinematographer, SRKathir did a sparkling job, catching the true colours of the town. In fact, it's not only the story of the people but also about their town. There's a chasing scene where Azhagar and kasi are chased by some other gang. That's one of the finest chases in gullies of a village with an appropriate background score. Except the lengthy Thiruvizhaa scene, everything else perfectly fits the movie. There's long walk by Kasi in the introduction and the same long walk is cleverly used at the end of the movie. One of the most stunning climaxes, I have ever seen.
Every scene and dialog is carefully penned and used to connect one or the other part of the movie. The movie has an element of suspense too. Also, the dialog carries the justification of the characters activities. Every frame shows the meticulously worked script and execution. Even the fights [ fights with rickshaw drivers and local thugs in the theatre .. Stunts by : Rajasekar ] were depicted with a natural effect. Thanks to the master for not cheapening the fights with silambattam or maan kombu fights :). நல்ல வேளை..ஜல்லிக்கட்டு / ரேக்ளா ரேஸ் எல்லம் வச்சி ஹிம்சிக்க்லைங்க !
It’s easier to understand the movie when you watch it for the second time. I watched this movie in a theatre and the whole crowd was jumping and shouting for most of the scenes.. Siru ponmani asaiyum song, Kangalla irandaal song, the revenge, Subramaniapuram theme song. The crowd cheers for the goriest murder too. The film has been released in DVD format from Moserbaer.
When I had a chat with Sudesamithran, he mentioned that Sasikumar is from a wealthy family [ owns a theatre it seems ] and the film was shot in 16mm camera [ a low budget format ! ]. Shankar travelled to Los Angels to pick n train the 3rd row dancers for Style song in Sivaji in AVM's budget.. Enna kodumai Sir idhu ??!!
I remember seeing Paraman chasing Thulasi in the trailer as well as in the posters. But it is not shown in theatre/DVD. i don't know what happens to Thulasi ??!!
Towards the end Paraman says this..
நாலு காசு சம்பாதிக்கலைன்னாலும் சந்தோஷமாத் தானடா திரிஞ்சோம்..
How true it is ! I remember a good friend recently recollecting his earlier days and asked 'Why the hell did we grow ?! ". Whether we accept or not, it happens !