Bullet-point Report: Easan

Posted on December 18, 2010


  • The more movies we see about the blight brought by big cities upon the small-town soul, the more ahead-of-its-time Mahanadhi looks. The films that have followed carry not a fraction of either the narrative finesse or the emotional resonance.
  • Is there anything as frustrating as watching city youths portrayed like the Other, like exotically plumed creatures from an alien zoo? None of the guys and girls I know are like this. Some of us drink and smoke and actually behave ourselves. Promise.
  • Is it time we call for a moratorium on the depiction of the degeneracy of city kids through discos and rave parties?
  • And then comes the Shankar influence, with a small guy from a small town suffering a loss and turning vigilante. Even the happy-family song is but a replay of Pachai kiligal from Indiyan.
  • We can make our peace with the rudimentary staging, the awkward acting, the weird tonal shifts, the complete absence of a sense of rhythm – but we cannot live, anymore, with dialogues such as this one uttered by the father of a rape victim: “Vaazha elai maadhiri paathukitten… Pillaya ippidi echa elai aakitangale!”
  • Yes, we get it, red wine looks like blood, and as a result, consumption of red wine leads to bloodshed. We don’t need a titles-sequence special-effects visual (badly done, at that) to underline this fact.
  • It’s nice in theory to alternate the early scenes between a bunch of boys and a corrupt minister on the prowl, and later sideline both these tracks in favour of a police procedural with an upright cop, hitherto in the sidelines, brought abruptly to centrestage. But why doesn’t this play out as interestingly as it sounds?
  • A glacially paced three-hour film is not always a bad thing. For one, it allows for such piercing detail as in the scene where the victim’s father is asked a question and he’s lost in despair and so he has to be asked again. Beautiful.
  • But when this pace is not supplemented by a narrative that warrants this pace, we begin to fidget – especially when predictability creeps in.
  • When you introduce characters, shouldn’t you follow them through to a conclusion? Why not use the girl’s father as a suspect, as a lead, as anything? And the girl herself – why drop her like that? So much for the looming nexus of business and politics.
  • Let’s count the Subramaniyapuram influences: (1) The long tracking shot that opens the film. (2) The gory interval point and the gory climax (with lots of blood and very little red wine). (3) The anthropological attention to time and place, which lends the feeling of aimlessness, that nothing is happening when, in fact, the director is following the classic rules of construction: from the outside to the inside, from the general to the particular. Lay out the dots first before beginning to connect them.
  • And sometimes, these connections can result in enjoyable discursions – like the way the upright cop is revealed as a non-ritualistic person, or how the minister’s name of Deivanayagam is used to reveal the sycophancy of his henchman. (Not only does the latter’s car carry a sticker “Deivame,” his ring tone is the TMS song of the same name.)
  • Speaking of ring tones, the mandatory Ilayaraja homage comes via Ilamayenum poongatru.
  • Very funny line by a cop: “Viralai vidu, vaandhi varum.” Another very funny line by a cop: “Adichaa dhaan ungalukkellaam Thamizhae varudhu.”
  • I’d like someone to explain to me the recurrent motif of fish in glass tanks. Thanks.

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