Readers Write In #7: Heist movies vs Demonetisation

Posted on January 31, 2017

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A person robs a huge sum of money at gunpoint and absconds to obscurity. Law and order is totally against this person, and every single cop starts an unending trail behind this mysterious robber.

Eventually,

  • He gets caught but his altruism prevails over the legal system and Constitution.
  • He remains a mysterious enigma forever.

Either of these form the ending. Guess what I am talking about? Yes, the heist movies of Kollywood. With the cash crunch and demonetization becoming a barrier in the day-to-day life of common man, here is a what-if scenario of certain Kollywood movies, had they been released during the initial periods of demonetization.

Before going ahead with the actual list, there are certain things to be clarified further.

  • This list is non-exhaustive; there might be/are movies which have not been included in this article.
  • We have taken only Kollywood as the reference; readers are free to draw parallels to movies pertaining to other languages of their interest.
  • The movies are not ranked by any means. Rather, they are arranged in order of their year of release.

Gentleman:

Direction – Shankar

Starring – Arjun, Madhubala, Senthil – Koundamani and others

Music – A R Rahman

The debut venture of director Shankar saw a cliché, Kollywood-esque, message-oriented story, where the I-may-be-wrong-but-I-am-doing-it-for-something-right-morally hero robs money from various places. The very first scene shows cash worth several crores of rupees being stolen by the protagonist; he is also seen masking himself under some disguises to conceal his identity, because he is known in his circle as a typical Iyer, who does Pooja and runs an appalam company.

Had this been released on or after 08/11/2016, that change of identity itself would have meant a metaphor, conforming respectively to the value of the money stolen but them being worthless because of demonetization.

But lo, it is a Shankar movie, so the hero might have changed the money without getting caught at the bank somehow. Optimism and hope are the highlights of this extravagant director, so let us just say it might have still held relevance (sarcastically, of course).

Thiruda Thiruda:

Direction – Mani Ratnam

Starring – Prashanth, Anand, S P Balasubramaniam, Anu Aggerwal, Heera Rajagopal and others

Music – A R Rahman

The movie revolves around INR 1,000 crores being stolen by a gang of henchmen, and the protagonists – Azhagu and Kadhir – accidentally find the treasure.

But imagine what would have happened if the robbery had taken place on November 8th, 2016? What if the villain snatched the money from the container and tried to hide it in a secret haven, only to learn from the social media and the news about the fact that 500 and 1,000 rupee notes were invalid with immediate effect in the next four hours? Crazy, right?

Adding to it, in the visuals of the song Putham Pudhu Bhoomi, the protagonists are seen to be dancing with different clothes every minute, which should have supposedly been bought with the stolen cash (because, well, they are nothing but petty thieves, otherwise). Would’ve been a different story had the garment shop told them the notes they had cannot be used for purchase.

Moreover, in that very same song, the notes are frittered away in the air as they dance with an air of blissful enjoyment. Suits today’s scenario to the T, right?

Also, towards the end, the notes are perfectly retrieved (mysteriously, even after the audience saw the notes being thrown away in ecstasy and all) by the special team assigned to investigate the case. S P B, the CBI Inspector, lets out a sigh of relief, having had to skip a pilgrimage with his wife midway because of this sudden robbery. Imagine demonetization coming into play, and you would be wondering if that was really a sigh of relief or sigh of “irritation”, you know.

Mankatha:

Direction – Venkat Prabhu

Starring – Ajith Kumar, Arjun, Trisha, Anjali, Andrea, Raai Laxmi, Vaibhav Reddy, Premji Amaren, Mahat, Ashwin, Jayaprakash and others

Music – Yuvan Shankar Raja

The crux of this story is IPL betting, with 500 crores being the cash involved. Vinayak Mahadevan (Ajith) is the strategist, framing masterplans for the heist; Prem (Premji) is the hacker, who helps with technology; Ganesh (Ashwin) is the traitor among the cops (and Prithvi (Arjun), too, but that is for the end for the audience to jawdrop).

I can only think of that scene pre-interval, where Vinayak is seen smoking ominously framing plans for the heist with a chess coins, which I did marvel for the unapologetic tone it had, but which makes me laugh today for such a plan would have made no single difference post-demonetization.

The container is being doppelganger-ed (in the middle of a highway, unbelievable so, without anybody taking notice of such a gigantic structure being lifted in air), before which Ajith performs some mindblowing stunts (he did those bike stunts, those stunning ones, all by himself, allegedly). On that fateful day – before an even worse fated day (that when Trump was declared victorious) – pickpocketing a 100 bucks from someone’s wallet would have been far easier and more meaningful than this 500 crore heist.

Sigaram Thodu:

Direction – Gaurav Narayanan

Starring – Vikram Prabhu. Monal Gajjar, Sathyaraj, Gaurav Narayanan and others

Music – D Imman

There is unmistakably an eternal laughter that comes out of vehemence on seeing ATM boards stating “24 HOURS ATM” these days. Probably, a slash between 2 and 4 would hold some meaning to it (“2/4 HOURS ATM” – well, maximum of 4 hours is the duration each ATM is open nowadays with cash) today. What do we do when this thought of ATM robbery movies strike us?

There is a particular conversation between the antagonists, where one of them states, “Local cards will give us only 10,000 to 25,000 a day. What if we use international cards? We would get upto a lakh per day?”

The audience would have gone berserk had this dialogue come up today. “Seriously? You can withdraw more than 10,000 and all?” would have been the awkward reaction.

As it is, the list is non-exhaustive. Almost all Shankar movies have one or the other reference that may be quoted to be inappropriate after demonetization, and there are specific movies, where particular scenes suit pretty well to this topic.

Some of them are:

  • VIP (Velaiyilla Pattadhari) – the one where Dhanush gives his brother 40,000 bucks – all or most of which are 1,000 rupee notes – with a sense of pomp, and tells that whistle-welcoming dialogue.
  • Sivaji – the one where Rajinikanth confronts Haneefa – who happens to be a minister – right at his office (it is Rajini, he can go in anywhere and rightfully so) and shows him the suitcase full of currency notes, again only 500 and 1,000 bucks.

The author, Giridharan Raghuram, is a maniac whose food is writing, and whose water is one-liners and word puns. This post is meant to be a satire. The author or the website does not hold any personal opinions against the concept of demonetization, or against any particular movie or person mentioned throughout this post.

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