Sunday, August 24, 2014

Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam (2014)

The most admirable aspect of "Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam" is that it is not a product of some industry newbie, but a filmmaker who has clocked a little over three decades. In its intentions, "Kathai Thiraikathai.." can be looked at as a less subtle companion piece to "Jigarthanda". While the latter was a pissed off condemnation of the system, this film is an understanding acknowledgment of problems in Tamil cinema. Director R. Parthiepan doesn't preach, and the attitude is anything but holier-than-thou. It's a film with a bit of everything; ideas are tossed all around to see what sticks. And when a film is about nothing, it is, intentionally or otherwise, about everything. It's a story of a filmmaker suffering writer's block; about his deteriorating marriage; a meta movie within movie; a high concept science fiction and even a murder mystery. As intended, the plotting appears arbitrary, but is, in fact, always deliberate, ever in an attempt to make a bigger point.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Jigarthanda (2014)

It's always delightful when young filmmakers show ambition in technique. One of the earliest scenes in "Jigarthanda" is a long take which, although only runs for less than half a minute, is nevertheless a pleasant sight. It follows a young man as he makes his way onto the stage of a reality television show about film-making. The buildup he gets will have you believe otherwise, but the young man, one of the four contestants on the show, is a tongue-tied nervous wreck waiting for the jury to announce their verdict about his short film. A highbrow film director calls it a "kuppa padam". A lowbrow film producer, who wears his heart on his sleeve and his dislike for the director on his face, calls it the "bestu padam". Chaos ensues and the young filmmaker somehow lands a one film deal with the producer to make a blood-curdling gangster film. So off goes our hero Karthik Subramani (Siddharth) in search of a story to Madurai, the land of barotta-mutton chuka, jigarthanda and crime. He picks his subject: Sethu (Simhaa), a gangster at the top of his game. And then he observes.