A Promising Ethnographic Study That Becomes A Banal Melodrama

Director: Ganesh Vinayak

Solid: Tharun Kumar, Abarnathi

As you see the sprawling woods, waterfalls, and hills of Kurinji Malai in Thaen, you’re led to anticipate one thing on the traces of Merku Thodarchi Malai. Up to some extent, there are resemblances. Thaen appears on the folks in a small settlement, Kurinji Kudi on Kurinji Malai, which is alleged to have herbs and minerals that maintain all ailments away. This, presumably exaggerated, folks perception is the premise of the central query within the movie: ought to we enable corporates to destroy a hill that actually provides life to so many?

Velan (Tharun Kumar), an orphan to the hills as a toddler, is an skilled at gathering honey which is meant to heal ailments. We’re proven a shot of Velan urgent out honey from a comb, balancing on a department, excessive up on the hill, with a waterfall as backdrop. These early components of the movie are crammed with related aerial pictures of the hill and its hamlets. They seize the aloneness, even isolation, of the folks. Even when the hill isn’t crammed with magical herbs, you need it to be preserved.

We see how the hill shapes its folks, and the way they reshape the hill. We’re proven the grinding rhythms of every day life within the troublesome woods. Their dialect doesn’t merely have completely different accents, even the phrases are fascinating. A lady says that she is single by ‘sami kitta uththaravu varla (I haven’t acquired God’s command)’. It’s not only a metaphor; it’s just a little window into how the folks of this micro-world suppose. There’s even an enchanting omen to resolve whether or not two individuals are appropriate sufficient to be married.

Having acquired such an omen, Velan will get married to Poonkodi (Abarnathi). Now, Thaen switches from merely exhibiting you the folks of Kurinji Malai to forcing you to take a really particular emotional angle: insufferable pity. It does this by making Velan and Poonkodi representatives of Kurinji Malai. Poonkodi falls sick with a illness that requires Velan to take her to Theni for therapy. Two blemishless souls fall out of Eden. It’s meant to be a metaphor for the way our verdant hills have been sacrificed for politics and revenue. The one factor that basically falls, although, is our curiosity in what occurs subsequent.

After the couple are at a authorities hospital in Theni, the movie provides some broad political commentary with the rigor of a well-intentioned WhatsApp ahead. After an activist referred to as Das (Aruldoss) arrives, the movie briefly turns into an investigation in regards to the supply of Kurinji Malai’s air pollution. On the finish, it turns into a heavy-handed commentary on how pitiful the plight of the Velan household is (we’ve all however forgotten in regards to the mountains by now).

The movie stacks one metaphor on high of after one other which makes it nearly literal. For instance, there are arbitrary scenes the place Velan’s baby begs for milk or cash earlier than Velan finds out and throws it away. It’s true that they’ve fallen into arduous occasions, however nothing prepares us for the horror of a begging baby. It looks like the household instantly determined to do exaggerated issues to exhibit their horrible struggling to the world, simply to make the that means of their experiences clear: folks from the hills are begging, they’re dying.

We don’t really want any extra convincing that Velan and Poonkodi have been dealt the quick geographical straw once they had been born on the hills. The ultimate sequence the place Velan carries the corpse of his spouse for miles on the hill as a result of a authorities hospital gained’t give them a free ambulance is overtly manipulative and but disturbing. It’s as if the director didn’t belief us to really feel engaged sufficient and determined to indicate primal photographs to shock us.

On the heart of Thaen is the query of nature versus civilization. It makes a forceful argument for the preservation of our hills, however the argument is lacking nuance and depth. We didn’t want extra tears and manipulative shows of hopelessness. We would have liked to see who Velan and Poonkodi had been as folks, not as simply representations for the issues that plague Kurinji Malai.

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