If your planetary position is not good, it screws up your Sunday. Not just badly. But miserably. I should have quietly gone to watch Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor which was screened today morning by the Enlighten Film Society. There would not have been any second thoughts if Bertolucci's Last Tango In Paris or The Sheltering Sky or even Stealing Beauty were screened. I can watch all these three masterpieces of Bertolucci endlessly. Since I had already seen The Last Emperor more than twice earlier, I was reluctant to go, as there is not much to relish over and again in it, apart from the cinematographic finesse of Vittorio Storaro. Last evening, Mani, my new literary friend in Mumbai, told me about the release of a Tamil movie Angadi Theru by one of the upcoming and promising director Vasantabalan. Since it is being screened in a cinema hall nearby, my misfortune seduced me to watch it. And to undergo a non-stop torture for more than two and half hours. I could not exercise the choice of walking out of the hall due to various reasons and therefore I have to purge it out my system by writing this review. At the outset, let me caution you to not to read it any further and undergo the same suffering!
The plot of the film has two gruesome accidents as its turning points. The first accident happens at an unmanned railway cross resulting in a train crushing to death the hero's father along with a dozen of others travelling by a vehicle. The second accident happens in the city of Chennai where an over-speeding lorry crushes to death another set of more than two dozen pavement dwellers who were sleeping on the roadside in the night. In between the first and second accidents, the poor hero gets more than two hundred and fifty slaps from the manager of a super market continuously for more than 10 reels of film print. After the second accident, both the legs of the heroine gets mutilated. The hero finally marries the heroine and the films ends much to the relief of less than a dozen of unfortunate victims sitting as audience inside the hall.
There is a crippling psychological complex afflicting some of the upcoming directors like Bala, Ameer and Vasantabalan and upcoming writers like Jeyamohan and Ramakrishnan and agit-pop essayists like Charu Nivedita in Tamil society. It is called as megalomania. It is nothing but a mirror-image of the Dravidian cultural iconography getting reflected on the other side of the spectrum. These creative persons are reasonably young and energetic, promising and talented. Unfortunately, they have started falling into the self-delusional traps of grandeur and have started believing that they have grown beyond criticism. By touching a hilltop hither and thither, they have begun to assume that they have already scaled the greatest of all mountain peaks. The domain of cultural and literary criticism in Tamil Nadu is left with a harrowing void, where there is none to point out that the Emperor has no clothes. In such a philistine scenario, the prevailing theme seems to be you scratch my back and I scratch yours. As a result, one cannot expect the second movie of a young director like Vasantabalan to be creatively more mature than his maiden venture. It is also unfortunate to mention that the dialogues for this film penned by Jeyamohan, for whom I have my greatest personal love and regard, has nothing worth mentioning either. How can one prevent the recurrence of such tragedies in Tamil cultural space?
Movie Rating : 1 out of 10
Note : But for the 0.5 score for the female lead actor Anjali who shows flashes of brilliance and 0.5 score for one beautiful song (Aval Appadi Ondrum Azhagillai) cinematographed beautifully, the rating of the movie ought to be 0 out of 10.