“Naachiyaar”… Bala ditches the nihilism and makes his most generic, underwhelming film

Posted on February 27, 2018


Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/naachiyaar-review-baradwaj-rangan-bala-jyothika/

Bala’s new film, Naachiyaar, opens on acres of a trash-strewn landfill. As the credits flash by, the camera keeps moving, but there’s only garbage… and more garbage. Finally, we cross this sea of filth, and in the distance, we glimpse buildings, the big city. This visual can open any of Bala’s films, which focus lovingly on the castaways from society, the fringe dwellers, the people generally regarded (not by Bala, though) as “trash.” Now consider this line that appears much later: If an elephant moves, a few ants will be ground down. That’s destiny. This line, again, can fit into any of Bala’s films, which often portray the plight of helpless ants as powerful elephants go on a rampage. All of which is to say that one could make a case that Naachiyaar, in the context of the Bala oeuvre, is business as usual. But you’d be wrong.

This is Bala’s most positive movie. I don’t mean to suggest he’s turned into Sooraj Barjatya — at least, not unless a Sooraj Barjatya film has a scene where a suspect is interrogated with clamps holding her mouth open as a dental drill threatens to uproot all her teeth. But for the first time in this director’s career, we sense… hope. Bala’s dialogues are often very funny, and here, we get an exchange between two men where one says God likes to torment the poor. The other man replies, “Then let’s make a fresh God.” Recall Paradesi, where God was a silent observer, almost cruel in His refusal to raise a little finger to help people in pain. In Naachiyaar, Bala does a 180 — he presents the possibility of another God, not one that does His own thing but one that we can mould according to our desires.

Continued at the link above.

Copyright ©2018 Film Companion.

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil