Two shots, two songs

Posted on May 4, 2017

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A flashback to moments from the 1986 Telugu drama ‘Swathi Muthyam’, the story of a man who’s also a child.

Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-two-shots-two-songs

K Viswanath, this year’s recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, made three films with Kamal Haasan. Sagara Sangamam is the best, Subha Sankalpam the weakest – and between these two films, chronologically and quality-wise, lies Swathi Muthyam (White Pearl). It makes a fantastic complement to Moondram Pirai (Sadma in Hindi), where the heroine was a grown-up with the mental faculties of a child. Kamal Haasan played the adult who took care of her. Here, it’s the opposite. The heroine takes care of Kamal Haasan, whose childlike state is attributed to a long-ago accident. It’s fascinating to place these films side by side and see how they overlap, how they diverge – but for now, let’s just look at Swati Muthyam.

The Kamal Haasan character is named Sivayya. He first meets the widow Lalitha and her son Balasubramaniam (Balu) as they climb the steps to a temple. In the next scene, mother and son are inside the temple, standing beside a pillar, waiting for the aarti to get done. Sivayya walks in and starts reciting mantras loudly. He’s shushed by a man standing in the line opposite his. Like a schoolboy reprimanded by the teacher, Sivayya sinks to the floor. This is the “audio” part of the scene.

Continued at the link above.

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