Sunday, March 28, 2010

Angadi Theru (Tamil Movie) : A Non-Stop Torture

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.


  1. உண்மைதான். உங்களை இந்த படத்திற்கு ரிகெமண்ட் செய்ததற்கான தண்டனையாக இரண்டு மிடறு ஸ்காட்சை என் தொண்டைக்குழியில் நீங்கள் திணிக்கலாம். மறுபடியும் இதே தளத்தில் எழுதப்பட்ட ஒரு சில நல்ல படங்களை பார்த்து விட்டு இதற்கான நீளமான திரைவிமர்சனத்தோடு விமர்சிக்கலாம் என்று இருந்தேன். ஏதோ ஒன்று குறைகிறது. “அப்படி ஓன்றும் படம் அழகில்லை..”

  2. Last time reading the review of LSD (rating 8 of 10), I thought that the rating is for the article. I was wondering who assigns this rating. It could not be Satya himself. Now only the rating thing is clear to me. Tubelight. Yes. Sometimes but.

  3. always happens with tamil films.

    over dose of every thing. i read the review in dinakaran. the story itself is horrible.
    tamil film with good tight script is rare.

    his first film veyyil also overdose of all.

    wish you a relief with a good scotch i am saying cheers from here for another good movie to see

  4. Your diatribe against tamil cinema continues...
    Your unwarranted outbursts against tamil writers is not in good taste..u should see this in the context of indian regional cinema...definetly i feel its a daring venture to showcase the brutal realities of oridinary life...

  5. Thanks for the feedback. You have helped me to save time!

    Generally, nowadays, the quality of tamil movies are deteriorating...

    Meanwhile, I request you to visit my blog in the following address:

  6. For an excellent review of the film by Mani, plz visit the following link :

  7. red earth and pouring rainApril 28, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    Initially, after reading this post, I thought that our dear Charles Baudrillard from beautiful gopi,TN has gone overboard thos time and he has really and totally converted into post-modern imperial agent. Alas, my sweet Tamil film world did not support me again. I came down crossing and fell flat in the humid beach of chennai.
    Individual and collective sensibility is determined by circumstances, environment, temporal and spatial coordinates. Each human activity/experience is localised and differs from place to place. So, what i want to mean is that Tamil cinema and oldest possible culture in this universe has also got `sub-culture'.i am stressing again, we have our own `sub-culture'. If my intellectual friends can't understand this, i can't wonder at their sundays getting spoiled and they need to get their intellectual eqillibrium with the help of large doses authentic scotch whiskey.
    All said and done. subtlety is not our staple diet. Not even special diet. We had that in our forefathers. Those nameless bards of Sangam generation who sit in melancholy in the glistening sands of time by their sheer weight of poetic brilliance are rarity. Those images of young girl waiting for her lover was surrounded by total silence in the forest except the sound of falling leaves. Kaamam(what is the english equallent) was described as ever tender grass. But, suddenly we have developed mixture of inferior mindset and fake superiority complex and from that day onwards, we are shouting, shouting for everything at everything by breaking our vocal cords and other's ear drums. So, dear highly senstive folks, don't look for subtlety with your magnifying glass in the world of superstars and universal stars.
    Lot of semi-sensible and so called sensible citizens of Tamilnadu have seen the picture and some have appreciated the picture and some have not rejected it. So, I can only say this much that the relativity of movie watching in TN can not be compared with that of in non Tamil places, that too, if you are watching mostly non tamil films.
    Nothing of all these my weak defense arguements can take away the utter un-aesthetic filming of the plot. One of the most horrible characterisation in the form of that supervisor, scenes of eating out, boarding scenes, frequent ritual of mob waiting for owner to unlock the door of shop, torture meted out to the emplyees in the public glare, polcemen taking the bribe money by waiting in queue, two deliberated insertion of accidents in front and rear of the film are some of the memorable scenes in the history of world cinema.
    some faint fragrance of the possible interestng scenes like poor girl worker in brahmin family attaing puberty, people working in challenging environment fall into love and its aftermath, heroine trying to manage harsh reality with play-acting are those possibilities could have been sensitively touched and handled by some other director. Hindi cinema has homogenised whole hindi speaking area into punjabi test tube families. villages have disappeared from their mentalscape. Unfortunately, we can not take much credit just by filming village based and poor family based themes.