Natchathiram nagargirathu. Such a poetic name for a movie, don’t you think? If you are still wondering the reason behind the name, you will get the answer when you read this post.
So yes, I finally got to watch this movie. It was quite an experience. It took me to a different world, one that was refreshing and exciting to see. Some directors take us to various scenic locations in different countries, Ranjith takes us to the world of theater and shows us how beautiful this place is, filled with different flavored people and so many degrees of emotions in them. He takes us to this place and glues us to our seat, mesmerizing us with the layers of messages in every scene, and the songs and dance which transcends reality.
So yes, if you haven’t guessed by now, I loved the movie. Let’s start at the very beginning. The introduction scene for instance, sets the tone of the movie right away. (I haven’t mentioned it here, in case you belong to this small set of people who – a)haven’t watched the movie, b)who haven’t seen the reviews, c)who still reads blogs). So different from all the mass movies we have seen before. I liked the subject they argued about, and how the conversation goes. But those who have watched the film – tell me honestly, were you annoyed with Rene and couldn’t understand why Ranjith had to show her triggering Iniyan by waking him up?
You see, Ranjith had a reason to this madness. I think maybe Ranjith did it on purpose to let us know when all is smooth in a relationship, such kind of casteist remarks won’t prop up. People rarely say what’s on their mind, they want to be politically right. But it is during these kind of heated up moments, a person says their deepest thoughts, ones they have been thinking but not really saying. It also shows us clearly the mental state of the two in their relationship. How it was before and what had caused it to sour hasn’t been spoon fed to the audience. Ranjith leaves it to the audience to make their own assumptions on how Iniyan and Rene must have acted as their relationship progressed, based on this one scene. And everyone who watched the movie would have come up with a hundred problems that could have arose.
Ranjith leaves a lot to the audience’s creativity, for them to come up with their own conclusion for a lot of scenes. Here is one creator who believes his audience are intelligent and has trusted them to bits. Amazing, isn’t it?
There are several such scenes that had that effect on me. I particularly loved the way Rene was sitting in the Goddess pose while Arjun comes apologizing to her. Her posture then, her words, with what Ranjith is trying to convey to the audience…So many hidden meanings to that scene, don’t you think? I loved that. And the dance numbers! They are a treat in itself. The way Rene moves, it felt like the smooth strokes of a paint brush on a big canvas.
That brings me to Rene’ – I loved everything about her. She was one of Ranjith’s strongest women characters so far. Heart filled with angst, unrequited love, clear-headed, non-compromising speech…she oozes self-confidence and commands respect. I mean, the way she walks, talks and moves is poetry. Bharathiyar’s new age haiku maybe.
Ranjith’s women have always been powerful, but among all characters he had sketched, Rene takes the cake. She is clear in what she wants to say and wants to do. I loved the last kick she does towards the end of the movie, which spirals a whole movement. Dushara brings her A-game all through the movie, and it is she and only she who sticks in your mind when you come out of the theater. Love it! A change from all the star-studded movies. For instance, even in Jai Bhim, or Suraraipotru, though there were strong women performers, it was a “he” who came out as the winner.
As for the music, I am team Tenma all the way! I loved all the songs, the Agi-agi number was haunting as hell. It manages to raise the blood and keep it boiling for a while. Paruvame too. The first number’s lyrics was beautiful. I should say, Ranjith will make you want to watch the song and not just listen to it in the background. The choreography fits it to a T.
Apart from Dushara, it was Kalaiarasan who stood out. He is a brilliant actor as well and he holds our attention in all the scenes he is in. Kalidas didn’t really have scope to perform I felt, but his eyes make us believe the love and hate he feels. As for the rest of the cast, they had cute scenes as well. The dialogues in those scenes stand out, more than the actors themselves. I especially want to mention the scene where Kalaiarasan refuses to drink, and the rest of the cast have a discussion over whether it is right to force someone when someone says NO. Isn’t it interesting that people could understand what “no” means for one thing, but not for the other? Layers – again. I have always, always had issue with many people I have met where they can understand things when it comes to them but never when a different problem occurs to others.
When you are warming up to the film, you are suddenly taken to Kalai’s village and the realistic family fight that ensues there. That will make you sit up and laugh without your knowledge. And those who have faced the exact same scenario, it will bring back memories.
Well. so many great things to keep saying. But here’s what I didn’t like about the movie. I wish Ranjith had given us some strong stories for the other couples in the theater group. For the transgender, the gay couple…he should have let us know what difficulties they had to face. He did it for Rene, kinda wanted the same for others. The trailer was to blame. It made me believe I will be watching a movie where all of their love were represented and given equal importance. Somehow, I felt disappointed that Ranjith missed showing their stories.
But on the bright side,, he has taken the first step towards showing that love comes in all flavors and colors. He has discussed whatever he wanted people to hear regarding “nadaga kathal” and other such blames put on people of a particular community. He tells people the reason why Rene has so much of anger in her. And through her, he tells his audience a bit of the history they already know, but fail to acknowledge or understand.
The question is…are people willing to listen? Are people ready to try to understand such a story? The theater I went to, was 60% empty. I saw Cobra 3 days prior to this movie, and this same theater was full. It made me wonder whether people are similar to the “villian” character in the movie.. unable to accept such a change…or whether people don’t really care to see stories of those who they can never relate to.
Be it what may, I will say this. For those who are willing to see and understand everyone, they would enjoy the movie. For people who expect mass, drama, amma sentiments or family sentiments, you should….well, you should also watch this movie. Give them, no…give yourself a chance to try to understand without shrugging a movie (or any person) off because it doesn’t meet with what you are familiar with or used to.