Readers Write In #285: An extremely intricate movie about life’s science

Posted on October 20, 2020


(by Vikram MN)

It’s movie which should have got more recognition than what it has actually got. Being a Pa. Ranjith movie it’s no surprise what the subject would be but the beauty here is how he deals with it. More than his directional features which are here and there, its his production ventures which was right on the money. Be it either ‘Pariyerum Perumal’ or ‘Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu’. Both are to the point and perfect. May be his big budget directional features are his idea of self-immolation so that he can budget much better features for the cause.

Vetrimaaran, in an interview said that Pa. Ranjith is a politician who makes films, meaning he has a policy to which he firmly stands and makes films according to. ‘Madras’ was a masterpiece and as far I feel, that would be his best movie in his career where both his political stand as well as carefully crafted filmmaking had come to fore. ‘Attakathi’ is excellent but now he’d not make a carefree film like that, he wants to prove a point through the film than by proving a point by a film. His next two features went from bad to worse. ‘Kabali’ had a great “searching” part. I mean few scenes where Rajni gets disappointed and returns back to his home had ‘Bicycle Thieves’ level of finesse in it. ‘Kaala’ had nothing. But like I mentioned above may be that’s his idea of being robin hood, using a star to tell his message. He of course tells his message, for which many appreciate. See how he made even the superstar to utter dialogue that only a protest would yield benefits for people and made a lady more powerful than a superstar. It’s actually a Ouroboros syndrome where Ranjith thought that he made use of Rajnikanth’s image to showcase his policy and Rajnikanth thought that he made use of a youngster to come to political powers. In the end both failed, miserably.

Comparing those with ‘Pariyerum Perumal’ and ‘Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu’, the latter ones feel like gems. ‘Pariyerum Perumal’ is a masterpiece, no denying that. I wouldn’t go far and say that it’s the greatest film ever made, in fact I liked ‘Ratchasan’ to it in that year. But still there is a definitive point which ‘Pariyerum Perumal’ tried to make and made it in style. The priority of the movie is to convey the message. Suppose if a certain lens for a certain type of shot had not been available, the director wouldn’t have mind it, but if certain message wasn’t able to be conveyed, that would have disappointed the director. ‘Pariyerum Perumal’ does everything possible, in the little circle it was allowed to play. ‘Ratchasan’ meanwhile was more of a cinematic experience. A fine film which people say has “flaws” but works tremendously well. These two films are compared only because it released on the same date in the same year. Otherwise it’s just baseless. But when you take a “Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu”, it’s a far tougher film to make, because it’s not directly camouflaged to tell the story, it tries to deal with an additional story line apart from the “message” part.

On a broad spectrum, the “gundu” in ‘Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu’ serves just as a MacGuffin, if taken from the angle of agenda. Of course, it bombs and people die but its more about who dies and who goes unpunished. A variety of troupes could be used, but because it’s a “gundu”, we see it with more intensity. There is a constant scare that something might happen to someone. The timer music was an excellent idea by the music director Tenma (which doesn’t irritate like ‘Tik tiktik’ BGM) who superbly scores in songs as well. Just because it’s a ticking bomb waiting to be exploded, we all see it with so much concentration. We don’t care about who is diffusing, who’s winning, who’s losing. All we care about is safety. The director so beautifully asks us, “will you root for humanity only if you have a bomb to explode”

Whether or not bombs like this exist in real world is a question that could be discussed upon some other day but how convincingly he has done it a thing to be appreciated. Kamal Hassan with all his lap top ideologies tries so hard to convince that a tsunami can be triggered by blowing cesium weapons underwater. But here with just a small intro on the bomb and a bombing, the director AthiyanAthirai puts forward his point so effectively. That’s the brilliance of his direction.

Dinesh finally feels that he has let go of ‘Cuckoo’ image. After ‘Attakathi’, this is the first film which doesn’t remind us of his acting in ‘Cuckoo’. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said about Anandhi, who looks like a limited actress. The rest of the actors including a repetitive yet un-hateable Munishkanth, do a fabulous job as always. It’s the troop of Ranjith and they make sure they strive together to convey a point.

What makes the film a truly special one is how local the film is. Even with a ‘Pariyerum Perumal’ the approach is global, it looked like a film which would work anywhere, like a ‘Sairat’ did, because it has templates, which each community can relate to in their region. But with ‘Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu’, its unapologetically local. Especially the festival in the climax, the way its given so much importance and the main point of the film gets conveyed through the song ‘Iruchi’ is like hearing the great grand finale of a Mozart concert.

The film of course has its drawbacks with an Ambi to Anniyan like graphics to show the bomb getting triggered and worse that that, the shot of bomb hitting the walls of lorry cutting to the AV shown in the peace conference and the MunishKanth dropping to bomb scene. Athiyan, who could bring great ideas to convey a point could have definitely thought about innovate ways to make those scenes but it looks like something all great series do when they want to end the season where they hurriedly want to bring closure to every character and every segment. That bug has bitten Athiyan towards the end. If you leave out these minor scuffles, the film is an experience of its own.