Director: Halitha Shameem
Solid: Madhumathi, Manikandan, Samuthirakani
In a movie tradition that has historically glorified the “amma sentiment”, it’s good to listen to the occasional nod to the different mum or dad. Halitha Shameem’s Aelay is an “appa sentiment” story, even when what we sense — at first, from Parthi (Manikandan) — is an utter lack of sentiment for his appa. The outdated man, Muthukutti (Samuthirakani), has died. The Chennai-based Parthi heads again to his village for the final rites, in a bus the place a loud film performed all evening and a passenger snored all evening. Upon reaching his vacation spot, Parthi appears extra upset about his lack of sleep than his father having handed on. And we appear to be set for an angsty drama about mother and father and resentful kids, a couple of man who offered “kuchi ice” for a residing and made the neighbourhood youngsters glad however couldn’t switch a few of that happiness to his personal youngsters.
However realizing Halitha, we additionally realize it’s not going to be simply that angsty drama. She could also be the most effective vignette-maker in Tamil cinema at present. As she proved so memorably in Poovarasam Peepee and particularly Sillu Karupatti, she has a means of taking us so deep into a spot that the writing virtually turns into an act of anthropology. You don’t simply see the place, you uncover it — and I feel this comes from analysis. We get the sensation that Halitha has a unfastened “plot” in thoughts, however earlier than fleshing it out she does what an excellent investigative journalist does. She returns with so many incidental particulars that these bits of flavour turn into their very own cause for watching the film.
Now we have seen many oppari singers within the motion pictures, however by no means one who’s dashing between appointments (the lady may use a secretary!) and must be instructed who this useless man is. The best way she transforms this freshly gathered info right into a lament that feels as if she knew this man all her life made me snicker out loud. The unhurried pre-intermission parts are great, and precisely what we anticipate from a “Halitha Shameem film”. There’s some clunky staging and the big forged doesn’t all the time hit the mark. (Samuthirakani and Manikandan are simply high-quality, although, as is Kailashnath C, the boy who performs the younger Parthi.) However the heat and humour within the vignettes are irresistible: from the best way a gold tooth is misplaced to an argument with a “fats lady” in a bus, from “baby leasing” to a horrific act of chick-icide (that by some means makes you grin).
Muthukutti is seen in flashbacks. He’s, as they are saying, fairly a personality, and Halitha manages a really spectacular balancing act: she makes us see the person for the casually irresponsible rogue that he’s and by some means like him, whilst we really feel for Parthi and his sister. We see the way it’s simpler, generally, to be a greater man round different individuals’s kids than round your personal. And all this comes with a fantastically curated sight-and-sound tour of the village. After about an hour, I felt that the plot can be one about Parthi lastly making his peace together with his father. I imply, one hardly expects a father in such a narrative to develop into a villain, proper?
However as an alternative, we get two different villains (precise characters), and a 3rd one within the type of a runaway screenplay. It’s one factor for a leisurely narrative to wish to decide up velocity. However right here, we go from zero to 600 kmph in what looks as if a 10-minute stretch. The vignette-based method is tossed out, as plot level after plot level kicks in — the second half turns into utterly unwieldy, and in addition (disappointingly) shrill. When a movie is melodramatic from begin to end, the excessive pitch turns into the default tone. However right here, you get the sensation everybody (together with the composer, Aruldev, together with his “quirky” rating) has begun to scream.
Even the once-charming romance (Madhumathi Padmanathan performs Naachiya, Parthi’s girlfriend) turns into a uninteresting cliché, the sort the place a foolish misunderstanding is allowed to fester till the viewers turns sore. The best way Naachiya learns a couple of essential incident appears to have been written by one other author altogether, somebody introduced in from Mega Serial Land. And greater than disappointment, I used to be left with puzzlement. In Sillu Karupatti, Halitha served up heart-warming content material with out an iota of extreme sentimentality. Is the overplotting (and overlength) a deliberate try and strive one thing else and never be “trapped” in a system? As a result of, even with its points, the movie is all the time watchable. There’s all the time one thing contemporary and fascinating and “quirky” sufficient to match the rating, like the daddy and son giving up a chase whereas midway up a tree. However you would like Halitha had leaned a method and stayed that course. Aelay desires to be Poovarasam Peepee with the added tonality of a Pandiraj drama, and I’m undecided anybody is able to pulling that off.