The political, the personal

Posted on July 20, 2017

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Spoilers ahead…

Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-adimai-penn

Scattered thoughts on ‘Adimai Penn’, the MGR-Jayalalitha starrer that was re-released in theatres last weekend.

A couple of times a year, a big splash is made around an old film getting a “digital” makeover and being released in theatres again. The quotes are because it’s usually a half-hearted restoration, and you can see why. With these films being available on YouTube, who but the hardiest fan is going to make the pilgrimage to the theatre? (The breakout hits – like the Sivaji Ganesan-starrer Karnan, which was digitally remastered and re-released in 2012 – are rare.) Why, therefore, waste money? And so, the colours are inconsistent, and the sound is horrible because they superimpose sharp synth tones over the lush instrumentation from earlier. All of which is to say that my experience of Adimai Penn 2017 (the original was released in 1969) was a bit of a bummer.

But the film itself, one of MGR’s biggest hits, is a bit of a bummer. Unlike other MGR starrers of the 1960s – Kudiyirundha Kovil, Aayirathil Oruvan – it has dated badly. The efforts to seem contemporary are laughable. At the beginning, we get MGR’s sobriquet (Makkal Thilagam, or People’s King) appearing on screen like how “Super Star” appears in a Rajinikanth movie, and there’s even a dig at the Baahubali movies in this film’s tagline: The real beginning. Never concludes. It’s an unfortunate comparison. In SS Rajamouli’s hands, fantasy took flight. Here, it remains earthbound.

Continued at the link above.

Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

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