Between Reviews: To Market, To Market…

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TO MARKET, TO MARKET…

Where, once, the rural narrative was the harbinger of hope for Tamil cinema, it’s the urban stories now that are upping the ante. Or are they really?

APR 11, 2010 – CAN THE OPENING MINUTES OF A MOVIE encapsulate its dominant philosophy? Yes, says Vasanthabalan’s Angadi Theru, as a barrage of images from the realm of reality rains down upon us – crowds on streets, vendors of flowers, neon-lit nooks, men barking into cell phones, a lone auto-rickshaw at night. And in the midst of all this gritty place-setting, we arrive at the crux of the story, with Boy and Girl stepping playfully on each other’s toes at a bus stop, asking the bewildered older woman behind them if they truly make a good couple. That’s the film in a nutshell: artifice propped up by naturalism, a realistic backdrop shielding the most cinematic of contrivances. It seems slightly strange to accuse a piece of cinema as being too cinematic – as if its very existence, its very nature were a pejorative. Would we hold in similar contempt a romance for being too romantic, or a slice of melodrama for being too melodramatic?

But over the years, “cinematic” has come to mean not “of the cinema” but “unrealistic,” and that’s the problem with films like Aval Peyar Thamizharasi and Angadi Theru, which flash their “realistic” credentials like medals of hard-won honour, only to resort, subsequently, to unrealistically manipulative storytelling. The point is not that the tragedies in these stories are removed from real life. These events are undoubtedly drawn from tangible truths, and it’s a credit to these filmmakers that they chose to tell these brutally bitter tales instead of spinning sickly-sweet cotton-candy fantasies. Angadi Theru, for instance, attempts a peek at what lies behind the glittery ads of gaudily clad actresses that adorn textile showrooms in the city, which, to the freshly recruited youngsters from faraway villages, appear the apotheosis of glamour. An early shot looks at the shutters going up in a multi-level store from a low-angle, and the wide-eyed expressions on the rustics suggests that they’ve just witnessed the unveiling of Burj Khalifa.

But little do they know that this gleaming façade conceals the cruellest of concentration camps, commanded by a supervisor so one-dimensionally evil, Hitler would think twice before shaking hands with him. These stretches of the film are speckled with detail that’s based, undoubtedly, on hours of diligent research. The new employees are fingerprinted, and forced to cough up cash for uniforms that will obliterate all semblance of individuality. That they are now part of a faceless flock is reinforced by an indelible image of their sleeping quarters, the floor littered with supine, serpentine bodies as if in rehearsal for a tableau of a board game: “Snakes and Ladders,” but without ladders. Another hard-to-watch visual delivers a close-up of the blackened varicose veins of a former employee, reduced to this state by standing on his feet from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. We flinch. We’ll never look at these salesmen the same way again.

But once the detail has been delivered, once these inhumanities have been laid bare for our shamefaced awareness, the film needs to keep the gears moving – and that’s when the cinematic contrivances creep in and pretty much take a wrecking ball to the carefully constructed atmosphere. We’re treated to a scene where city-dwellers are caricatured as exotic fools, like the Chennai girl who visits a village and nibbles on strawberries. You’d think an outsider-visitor would yearn for the tart tang of the gooseberry, but no, we’re clearly the sort who’ll pack along crates of fruit we supposedly cannot live without in our high-flying city existence. (It’s like how the Tamanna character, in the small-town college in Kalloori, advertised her city-bred otherness by biting daintily into white-bread sandwiches, cut neatly in triangles, as if idlis are an unknown phenomenon to the upper-crust residents of Chennai). In addition, this strawberry-muncher is severely flatulent. There! That’s putting us city types in our proper place. We cart around exotic produce, and we fart unapologetically.

Even worse (read “cinematic”) is the typecasting, in these films, of the Tamil Brahmin as a ritualistic cretin, high on learning but low in humaneness, lips perpetually wrapped around prayers to gods but heart completely shuttered against the suffering of fellow-men. When the heroine’s pubescent sister, in Angadi Theru, begins to have her period, she’s cast outside the home of the Brahmin couple she slaves for. So far, this is a sadly realistic scenario, a reflection of the superstitions and rituals that have putrefied our society in the name of organised religion. Where the departure from reality begins is in the invention that this poor girl is thrown into a cage, next door to a yelping dog. So let us, in a fit of free-mindedness, assume that such a scenario is indeed commonplace. Then why not introduce this sister earlier in the film, even if only through an offhand reference in a morsel of dialogue? Why wait until this scene, and haul the sister into the story only at the exact instant a crisis is needed?

The screenplay forever takes the easy way out, with characters falling victims not so much to circumstance as convenience. (I imagined the outline of the script as filled with punchy interjections: “Insert tear-jerking stretch here,” or “Kill off supporting character there.”) This isn’t melodrama but hysteria. The film doesn’t seem to realise that there’s a difference between exposing us to raw realities and rubbing our noses in it, burying us in a quicksand-marsh of noxious swamp gases till we flail for fresh air. Early on, the mess where these employees eat is portrayed as a veritable battlefield, with each man waging a war with the competition to lay hands on a mere plateful of food. But at a later point, we see men and women seated peacefully, lunching in neat rows. What, then, was the purpose of the earlier scene of stampede if not to induce in us a cheap frisson of disgust? Bala, too, deals with the underprivileged on the fringes of society, but his is a gaze of eccentric empathy. This is exploitation.

The sole saving graces are the epigrammatic dialogue (“Yecha kai aatina aayiram kaaka,” boasts the despotic store owner, that his serfs are utterly expendable and replaceable) and a handful of scenes that prickle like a whiplash (as when the hero impresses upon the heroine that, despite her taunts that he is a coward, she is as afraid as he is). And of course, fans of golden-age Ilayaraja can always bide time by counting the maestro’s hits that have become a de rigueur aspect of these films, like a superstition or a propitiation. (I counted Kaattukuyil paattu solla, Muthamizhe muthamizhe, and arrangements from Chittukuruvi vetka paduthu.) Otherwise, there’s little of the craft of, say, Casino, which also culled heavy reams of research into a satin-smooth rush of cinema. But why go as far as Martin Scorsese when there’s Mahanadhi at hand? That film, too, was a litany of endless sorrow, but it was touched, equally, by great moments of grace. There’s exactly one shot of grace in Angadi Theru, when a woman in a burqa stands in front of a store mirror with a sari draped around her shoulder, as if in anticipation of the instant she’ll be able to cast off her robes of black and sink into these swirls of colour. This is cinema; the rest is shoddy contrivance.

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Mundhinam Paarthene is far less ambitious, but a little more admirable. Not only is the title a nod to a song from a Gautham Menon film, the director Magilzh Thirumeni is his apprentice, which explains the raft of familiar storytelling devices: the voiceover, the despondent hero who wants nothing more than a girl to love but whose efforts in finding a mate are forever thwarted by feminine vacillation, heroines who seek to study in Princeton University, and the Tanglish feel of the dialogue. “Machan, get a grip on yourself, da!” Or, “It’s a common male ego thing!” And they say “ten grand,” not “ten thousand.” There’s even a reference to an Oscar Wilde quote from The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a translation of the lines, “And all men kill the thing they love… The coward does it with a kiss, the brave man with a sword!” You might sneer at this appropriation, as if there’s no equivalent Tamil quote to embody these same sentiments, but there is a Tamil population out there that’s begging for representation in Tamil cinema – the kids who are Tamilian but not necessarily “Tamil” in sensibility.

And this half-breed is making its presence felt in films such as Mundhinam Paarthene. Sociological concerns apart, this story of a man in pursuit of his ideal woman (he must choose from three) is evidently a first-time feature, with the ungainly touch of the well-intentioned amateur in the acting and the staging. But the beats are ever-so-slightly different. The hero hears a sad backstory from one of the heroines, and we cut not to her despondent face but to a shot of him playing basketball with friends. This life-goes-on feel elevates the goings-on, which are also aided by big laughs. And it’s refreshing to see women treated as women, neither Madonnas nor whores, neither sexually fetishised objects nor dreary embodiments of all things maternal. These heroines are strong. They possess minds of their own and refuse to be cowed down by a society that fears nothing as much as the liberated female. Even the girl who spreads malicious rumours isn’t castigated as a bitch but rather painted as a warts-and-all human being. Let’s not jinx things by proclaiming that the winds of change are upon us, but a muted hurrah is certainly in order.

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It would appear, based on Angadi Theru and Mundhinam Paarthene, that we are witnessing, in Tamil cinema, something of a quiet turnaround. Where, once, the backwoods-based narrative was the harbinger of hope, it’s now the metro-movies that are nudging the envelope in myriad little directions. And then comes N Lingusamy’s ultra-urban Paiya to shatter that notion to smithereens. This is, on the surface, a superslick road movie – but with zero acceleration, zero chemistry between hero and heroine (each with laughably motivated villains on their tail), and zero prospects for the audience save for marathon stretches of yawn-inducing dishoom-dishoom. And once again, the city slicker is reduced to a buffoon, someone who sips on Coke to advertise his job with an MNC, as opposed to the hero (Karthi) who apparently cannot understand much English despite seeking employment in those very MNCs that are being scorned, and despite a natty wardrobe that wouldn’t seem all that out of place on that man with the can of Coke. We can file this one under Height of Hypocrisy.

Copyright ©2010 The New Sunday Express. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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29 thoughts on “Between Reviews: To Market, To Market…

  1. You are going to get slaughtered for this!!Angadi Theru is supposed to be pathbreaking cinema as per our print and TV reviewers (and even some of the industrywallahs).

    Anyway, none of the three films inspired me to go to the theatres. Will wait for Ravanan.

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  2. I am surprised you did not mention the Lorry running over the homeless scene. The movie was littered with such deus ex machinas that conveniently pushed the movie into the realm of suffering or ‘realism’ as the director intended it to be.
    As you said, there were flashes of brilliance in the detailing and the film is full of many minute observations. But,the rest of the movie seems to be constructed with an audience acceptance or response in mind.
    Like the arc in which the disabled guy’s idiot wife prays so their child will be born disabled just so that nobody will talk bad about her.Just curious, did anybody clap for that moment in your theatre, BR ?

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  3. Mambazha Manidhan: At least the lorry scene you can overlook because it sets up the story. But I’m still surprised that this is what passes for “realism” here. And no, I don’t anyone clapped for that scene. Why? Did you get full applause in your show? :-)

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  4. I think I know why are so down on this movie. Making fun of a narrow minded brahmin woman (fairly typical by Chennai standards)who ill-treats a girl domestic help and the reference to Hyagriva Stotram got your Brahmin goat, didn’t it ?

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  5. Well-put reviews, thanks. BR, in regards to what you’re saying about how the ‘modern’ (Chennai girl, mnc ad guy and so on) are being portrayed in tamil cinema today, I wonder if this has directly – and only – to do with those who are making these movies today. A number of movies in the 80s (the kind that a young Suhasini acted in for example) portrayed the urban upper-middle class in a much more balanced, rounded manner – was that because a lot more movies in the 80s were made by people belonging to this class (the “Eldams Road people” as Kamal once referred to them)? – As opposed to now, when most tamil film-makers seem more “of the masses”, a lot more comfortable portraying the lives of people from the housing-board colonies of Saidapet and Teynampet rather than the nearby quiet streets of Alwarpet?

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  6. Rohan: Well, there have always been phases, right? If you’re talking 80s, there’s Mani Ratnam. Even KB before that made movies about urban people (Even if he did venture into Achamillai Achamillai and the likes). But the difference was that when you see, for instance, Mouna Ragam or Nenjathai Killathey today, these urban lives are still identifiable to someone from a rural area.

    Whereas Gautham’s films (and so on) pick out a very specialised segment of urban life, and I guess these don’t translate into the interiors. Which is why you keep hearing about how these movies do well only in the A centres. Well, even Mani movies do well in A centres mostly, but what I’m saying is that a Mouna Raagam can be seen and “understood” by anyone regardless of, say, socioeconomic considerations and the like, whereas these new urban films talk to very specific audiences.

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  7. I am usually quite OK with the English usage in Gautam’s movies. They never strike me as wannabe, sometimes I dont even notice them, err, that they are in English. But the tanglish seems so contrived in that gang from mundhinam paarthene. When the hero said “dood” instead of “dude”, I almost winced. It was so totally not him to say that. Did you feel something like that ?

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  8. Baddy, I saw that god-awful movie called Paiyya like an idiot on the first rate at the Bangalore Multiplex rates with the full family. What a piece of crap! The director was probably sleeping when he did this one and the editor was having fun showing the same damn hill on the way from Bangalore to Mumbai. Can you believe it that a road movie has no references to the places in between! Such a useless movie and a galactic waste of time!

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  9. Baradwaj

    I saw this movie in Saidai Raj on the day of release ( Yups – i will be the first IT manager to have visited all sub urban theatres in chennai ) . There were applause for many scenes. Lot of things kept me engaged , despite the ‘inserts’ you have mentioned – i was ok ,lets give space to vasantha balan !

    ‘which flash their “realistic” credentials like medals …’

    Its appraently our mindset, the trailor, the perception of rural with new faces = realistic that makes us percieve the movie in this way( kind of what they mention as Halo effect) . Both the directors claim its a realistic backdrop with commercial elements ‘necessary’ for the medium of cinema.

    Regarding Angadi theru – i was expecting the climax to end in a way that Paandi ( forget his name ,lets say the other guy ) suggests to Jothi- that would have been a slap to all judgemental visits of cinema !

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  10. And while mentioning abt Mahanidhi

    1) The cliche of Prostititues being gold hearted ( Father visits the RL area to find his kid and apprently other pros help them out )

    2) Cliche of Hero ( father who is soft ) being powerful than a Jail warden whose very hands are soaked with roughness of Lathi

    3) Cliche of Road-charmer ( Played of Thalaivasal Vijay ) being broad minded .

    And many such cliches – but apparently our exposure to world movies were less way back in 1993 – but having seen many such films – angadi theru now may appear a bit contrived , but neverthless we ‘tend’ to look the movies we appreciated earlier with a hole of appreciation ( ok ok ..not to forget the simple swaras being played in background , when kamal runs carrying his daughter in hand – i mean which music director who can do a symphony can have the courage andf vision to restrict the music to simple swaras when he has the batallion of violins in his mind & stuido ! )

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  11. letter to the paper, from another filmmakers who thinks in sms-ese… i’m beginning to feel really old :-)

    hi mr.baradwaj,

    ths is magilzh thirumeni. thank u so much 4 ur review of mundhinam paarthene in d indian express 2day. 2 b honest,
    ur review hs made my day.
    it is every film-maker’s prayer, tht apart frm d essential story tht he/she sets out 2 tell, d techniques n d devices tht he/she employs in mounting it on film (nt always successfully,maybe) r also noticed. n whn they do get noticed by someone who luvs movies n has a splendid understanding of d art n technique of film-making, d satisfaction goes a long way in compensating (as in my case) 4 d lack of revenue at d BO.

    thank u so much. wishing u all d very best.

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  12. Hermoine Granger: Oh, well, people do say a lot of “dood” :-) why do you say it’s not him? I have more of a problem with the sidekicks. If you have a guy who says “dood,” then you have to surround him with somewhat similar people. The (guy) friends, somehow, seemed to belong in a different movie.

    Sridhar Ramanathan: “galactic waste of time…” Heh, heh.

    MumbaiRamki: Is Saidai Raj the same as Noorjahan? BTW, cliches are different from a screenplay of convenience. I don’t think a movie having cliches means it’s bad. Cliches are at the story level, whereas what matters is ONLY the screenplay. The most important thing is treatment — and the treatment in Mahanadhi, for the most part, was superlative. It was about the acting, the grace/dignity/sophistication in the storytelling. I don’t know how you can compare something as crude as this to that (even allowing for nostalgic re-calibration by the mind).

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  13. Yeah , Noorjahan !
    My point was how we would have viewed a film before and after our exposure to the whole gamut of other films. In my case , im less exposed to world films and whatever contrived shots you have mentioned , i let it ago for the other nice aspects.

    May be we disagree here , but i feel the same movie 15 years before wouldn’t have got this comment :)

    ( A personal question : Its totally different thing for others – but how do you see a film , with your brain having to balance a) Need to judge /have opinion on the film to write a review b) Forget all that and just sit back in a seat , glued for 3 hours . Isn’t it a pain to watch having to note the nuances of the scenes without enjoying the film. Like how a photographer instead of enjoying the scenery , borrows the lens of the camera to substitute his /)

    )

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  14. Baradwaj,
    Sharply written as always. I think you’re spot on about the treatment in ‘angAdith theru.’ Though I’ve to say I don’t quite see “the caricaturing of the city-dwellers/urban populace” the same way as you do. But that’s for another day. One of the things that struck me in this piece is the following line:

    “But over the years, “cinematic” has come to mean not “of the cinema” but “unrealistic,” and that’s the problem with films like Aval Peyar Thamizharasi and Angadi Theru, which flash their “realistic” credentials like medals of hard-won honour, only to resort, subsequently, to unrealistically manipulative storytelling.”

    This is exactly what I’ve felt about quite a few of the “realistic” films in the recent years. Don’t you think this was true with some of the most acclaimed films in recent years like paruththivIran and subramaNiyapuram as well? My chief grouse with these two films in particular was with respect to how blunt and shallow they were in terms of the treatment of its central concerns and simply how lazily written they were. Weren’t they too not only recycling age-old tropes but also in a really blunt (as in ‘not sharp’) manner? To illustrate the point, consider subramaNiyapuram. It undoubtedly had a laid-back style and the proceedings were generally low-key (with which, I’d argue, it gets its “realistic” ticket), but weren’t all its key elements/themes laid out in terms of simply, expository dialogue (to pick just one of its manipulative aspects)? Almost every character at any point explains why he or she is doing whatever he or she’s doing. As if merely saying so will resolve the conflicts for the audience’s mind. There’s just about nothing that that provokes the audience, that unsettles them. It’s all laid out in cleanly cut cardboard pieces and all the audience is expected to is to passively “accept” them.

    I apologise if I’ve come off as too belligerent here. I guess all this just boils down to asking how you see those films in the wake of this thought that has cropped up in your mind? :)

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  15. Baradwaj

    While you have accused Angadi Theru of being cinematic, I don’t see enough substantiation :) May be you felt a pinch on the word count? Would you care to elaborate a bit more?

    I would agree without a wee bit of hesitation that the director totally bought the Tamil Brahmin stereotype. Whats worse is that an issue due to rituals was being projected as a “caste conflict”. The reason I say is that had a girl from their family attained Puberty, she would be facing the same situation and it has got nothing to do with a servant maid from the supposed to be “low caste”. And the portrayal of a dog shed being the shelter provided was pathetic.

    But, I am surprised you classify the movie as “cinematic”. Calling something as not engaging is one while classifying it as artificial is another. But for a few glitches, I felt that the movie was good.

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  16. Anonymous: It’s not the “shots” that are contrived IMO. It’s the way the events come about. Regarding the personal question, I’ve just written about it for this week’s Between Reviews. But even if I’d just decided to sit back and enjoy this film, I’m saying I wouldn’t have. (BTW, it’s not mutually exclusive, enjoying a film and noting the nuances. They’re simultaneous processes.)

    kamil: Well, the director says so. So I guess that’s the truth.

    Zero: You’ve written earlier about your dislike for PV and S.Puram, but I quite like those films (and Poo to a much lesser extent) because they work for me at the level of well-narrated stories. There’s no verité-exposé being attempted there. The “reality” is simply at the level of the unusual setting/customs/mores/way of life, and these films are about as “real” as a Bharathiraja film was “real.” I certainly do not think they’re meant to be “realistic” in the sense that AT attempts to be “realistic.”

    Let’s for a minute assume that At is just a story. Forget the verité aspect. Even that doesn’t work, and that for me is the failure. If the film had merely told an engrossing story and failed to deliver on its promise of showing us the behind-the-scenes of Ranganathan Street, I would have been okay with it. The problem is that it works on neither level.

    Arvind: I did write about the sister being yanked into the story so conveniently, or the mess-stampede business…

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  17. Exactly ! The whole gang in general did not seem that they mouthed those lines naturally.
    May be it was done for the “working in MNC” effect, but dint work.

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  18. I concur with your views on Angadi Theru completely. It came out to me as a pretense. You had earlier mentioned about poor acting. Any elaboration on that? I felt the lead pair had done a pretty good job with what was given to them. Didn’t like the support character to hero; – felt he was sticking out from the remaining trying hard.

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  19. //If the film had merely told an engrossing story and failed to deliver on its promise of showing us the behind-the-scenes of Ranganathan Street, I would have been okay with it. The problem is that it works on neither level.//

    I guess somewhere in your article you’ve acknowledged the research that has gone behind the making of this film as regards to the premise and promise of the film is concerned. While I can understand that any given story can ends up as engrossing/boring on a person-person basis, I don’t get the reasoning behind saying that the movie failed to showcase the behind-the-scenes of R street. Though there have been a few random articles and news clips over the years on this issue, the film presented a more zoomed in case study of those workers is what I thought. The film had touched in great detail right from “recruitment”, work allocation, work conditions, benefits to employee treatment.

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  20. Baradwaj,
    Fair enough. I certainly see the distinction you’re making between those films, smoothly woven and even in terms of the treatment, and this one, which is just poorly put together. (“This isn’t melodrama but hysteria” is more or less an accurate description of the film for the most part.) But personally, the familiar and cliched artifices those films employed didn’t go well with me.

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  21. Dear BRangan,

    It was sharply written piece – precise and perfect! I did not understand what I was missing in Angadi theru – that these directors (on Kalainger TV) and magazines blogs going ga-ga over! I thought the exact thing and told my wife too- I think Vasantha Balan wrote his script to put tear-jerking scene follow it up with killing-off somebody (within 10 minutes tow accidents and the second one did not even have an effect!!)and one-dimensional villains …….. and finally let’s take the legs-off of the heroine – to finish-off the snesitivites of the audience once and for all! To relieve me from the crime of seeing this torture, I went to see Paiyya and looking for that Lingu to let out my anger. What an a-ho he is!!

    I saw Mundhinam before all this and was pleasantly surprised at the mature handling of characters and the dialogues were perfect! (screen name “Piston” was too good man!!). I hope it does decent business at the BO!

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  22. APALA: “and finally let’s take the legs-off of the heroine…” LOL! I feel your pain, boss, I feel your pain :-)

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  23. you write a thorough, good review and this is all someone has to say:

    ” Making fun of a narrow minded brahmin woman (fairly typical by Chennai standards)who ill-treats a girl domestic help and the reference to Hyagriva Stotram got your Brahmin goat, didn’t it ?”

    sorry brangan.

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  24. letter to the paper…

    Dear Mr. Baradwaj Rangan,
    At the very outset, let me admit that I am a longtime fan: you are way up there with Richard Corliss as my favorite film critic. Those were the days when I would look forward eagerly to reading your opinion on the latest Tamil film. Even my husband, a film afficionado who does not read English, is familiar with you – after years of hearing me exclaim, “Mr. Rangan yennai pol sollugiraar!” I was sorry to lose you to Bollywood and to the Part of the Picture column (Tell me: does anybody really read about all those obscure, inaccessible foreign films? What a waste of your awesome writing skills!).
    Your few-and far-between Tamil reviews are absolutely devoured by me. Which is why your criticism of Angadi Theru left a bad taste in my mouth, particulary after your rave review of Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa. I certainly share your revulsion for the “strawberry-muncher,” but don’t you think discounting almost the entire film as “shoddy contrivance” is coming on a bit too strong? Angadi Theru, say what you will, is a refreshing change from rubbish like Paiya and VTV. Personally, I consider VTV, and a large part of Gautam Menon’s oeuvre, to be about the most pretentious contrivance to plague Tamil cinema currently. Or -.God forbid! – do you apply a separate set of standards for the big-time directors? If so, my idol has feet of clay.
    With regards,
    Preetha Rajah Kannan

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  25. Hi BR,
    I have been recently introduced to ur blog, ur reviews are simply superb. And this one about Angadi Theru is awesome.

    “What, then, was the purpose of the earlier scene of stampede if not to induce in us a cheap frisson of disgust? Bala, too, deals with the underprivileged on the fringes of society, but his is a gaze of eccentric empathy. This is exploitation.”

    I felt exactly the same words after seeing this movie. And the scene where the workers fight for food is shear Shock factor, the director just tries to pose whatever he knows to us.

    Reading your other reviews too, keep your good work going.

    Thanks,
    Madhan.S

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  26. Just re-read it. The film shifts tone when Lingam and Kani discuss their previous flings. Don’t you think that that’s why it being so over-the-top and silly is acceptable? We tend to blow things out of proportion and add spice when narrating anecdotes, don’t we? I wasn’t pleased, at first, with such humour either but then I thought “Maybe this is what Vasanthabalan was getting at?”

    About the ‘contrivances’ in the screenplay. Yes, so much tragedy befalling a person is not probable. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, does it? Or do you think it wasn’t staged in a realistic manner? The scene on the plane in Almost Famous must’ve been contrived as fuck on paper but it was staged so brilliantly that I believed it when I saw it and that was all that mattered. I saw it, I believed it.

    Seriously, to call the entire film a shoddy contrivance? I strongly disagree with this review.

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