Administrators: Nalan Kumarasamy, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Venkat Prabhu, AL Vijay
Forged: Vijay Sethupathi, Amala Paul, Sunaina, Megha Akash, Aditi Balan, Sakshi Agarwal, Amitash Pradhan, Robo Shankar, Vinoth Kishan
Earlier than the pandemic, an anthology movie, that too one in Tamil, was a rarity akin to a Gautham Vasudev Menon movie that’s accomplished and launched on time. Ever since, we’ve seen the discharge of 1 each two months or so with one in each OTT platform and, by now, even the untrained eye is ready to type patterns to know how these movies are ordered. Each Putham Pudhu Kaalai and Paava Kadhaigal sandwiched the 2 most bizarre shorts in between the strongest ones. You begin the movie upbeat, sit by means of two satisfactory movies and finish on a excessive, with arguably the very best of the lot ending the anthology. The identical thought course of appears to have been utilized within the case of Kutty Story as properly, the place you enter and depart the movie with kutty pleasures, solely to later bear in mind total swathes of dullness that dominated a lot of the working time.
Amongst these swathes, the biggest appears to be director Vijay’s Avanum Naanum, which is his second (after the Sai Pallavi-starrer Diya) to take an unabashedly pro-life stand. On this case, the purpose is made utilizing the instance of a a lot youthful couple who simply don’t appear to know any higher. Depart apart the plain lack of nuance, this can be a movie the place Preeti (Megha Akash) realises that she would possibly be pregnant solely when her roommate factors out that her stash of sanitary napkins has remained untouched for months. It’s unimaginable to take this lead couple severely, since you sense a condescension even in the best way the writer-director seems to be at them. They don’t come throughout as two harmless individuals who might need made an error of judgement. As an alternative, they behave like anonymous/faceless people who find themselves solely alive as cautionary tales mother and father use to scare youngsters into abstinence. Look previous the contrived ending, and that is the movie weakest to position into the anthology’s general theme of affection.
Barely extra alive than them are the 2 animated leads in Venkat Prabhu’s Logam, mainly an epistolary love story (like Kadhal Kottai, the brief retains reminding us) that occurs throughout the digital gaming universe of Logam. Reminding one of many two worlds of Spike Jonze’s Her and the Black Mirror episode Placing Vipers, the romance retains dwell motion to the minimal as we witness two gamers (Adam and Eve) navigating the degrees of Logam in the hunt for success and companionship. It asks quite a lot of the identical questions we’ve seen in dramas that locations a penpal-like relationship on the centre. Is it nonetheless love should you haven’t seen the opposite particular person? Is falling in love with a digital avatar any lesser than actual love? And lastly, why are feminine avatars in such video games all the time so well-endowed, even when girls get to create these avatars for themselves?
However amongst these very pertinent questions, the brief by no means takes the difficulty to go anyplace past the preliminary novelty of seeing a Tamil movie trying such a cool concept. On paper, it’s spectacular to suppose that we’d be rooting for a digital love story on Valentine’s Day, however aside from exchanging love letters on this gaming universe, there’s nothing the movie does afresh. The ending stays weak and the ambition dries up shortly after we get a cool glimpse of what a Tamil hero ‘mass second’ would appear to be within the context of a online game.
But, it’s solely with the opposite shorts, directed by Nalan Kumarasamy and Gautham Vasudev Menon, that we get movies the place the idea of affection is positioned at difficult, fascinating junctures. In Nalan’s Aadal Paadal, we get a male character who first corrects his male good friend for utilizing female phrases like ‘share’ whereas they talk about their issues. In his phrases, the concept of utilizing phrases like sharing or speaking is maybe unmanly and from this distinctive level, we segue right into a state of affairs that discusses gender politics throughout the confines of not simply the lockdown, but in addition the unwritten guidelines of adultery.
The writing right here, for essentially the most half, is genius. In such a narrative, it’s apparent that the stakes are heightened by introducing us to the daughter of the married couple in query. However aside from Nalan Kumarasamy, you possibly can’t think about a single author who’d select to write down a narrative about adultery set throughout Covid instances, and additionally place the person’s father-in-law proper in the midst of all of the awkwardness.
This father-in-law hardly will get a dialogue, neither does he become involved within the central subject, but it surely’s his character that makes this such a novel ‘indoorsy’ brief. After all, the movie offers with the idea of a task reversal throughout the context of adultery, but it surely’s equally a commentary on what occurs to privateness throughout the lockdown. And abruptly, intense scenes want to be set inside the toilet and on the terrace. The person has to pump iron alone in his bed room when he’s unhappy, whereas the couple find yourself dancing collectively close to the gate, exterior their storage.
Why are girls conditioned to forgive when males wander off from a wedding, and why is the response so totally different when males discover themselves in the identical state of affairs? Set inside this battle, Nalan Kumarasamy reveals us Vijay Sethupathi like we’ve by no means seen him earlier than. Although we’ve seen him do evil and darkish shades of gray, in Aadal Paadal we see a shady aspect to him that’s extra managed than the easygoing charmer we’re used to seeing. He displays the tens of millions of ego-bruised males who’ve totally different guidelines for themselves and their companions. Together with some wacky music by first-timer Edwin Louis Viswanath, we get a Lockdown movie that locations folks in conditions they’ll’t escape from, each actually in addition to metaphorically.
Lastly, it’s the messiah of messy relationships who finally ends up giving us essentially the most heartfelt of shorts in Kutty Story. Gautham Menon as soon as once more writes a plot that locations a ‘mellisaana kodu’ because the central battle, however over right here, it’s not between proper and improper as he’d explored in Yennai Arindhaal. In Edhirpaaradha Mutham (the sudden kiss), he’s obsessive about an excellent finer line that separates love from friendship. In true GVM vogue, we be part of a bunch of middle-aged males over drinks as they talk about Adhi (GVM himself) and his college-time bestie Miru (Amala Paul) by means of their three-year-long friendship. He’s actually ‘kissing-and-telling’ as he asks his pals and his current WIFE if there’s such a factor as a platonic kiss between a person and a girl. The controversy is scrumptious and with every passing drink, his good friend Prabhakaran (Robo Shankar) turns into the mouthpiece for all our ideas because the speak intensifies. The intercuts between the previous and the current are pretty and there’s a real quantity of honesty when Adhi admits, even to his spouse, that this kiss together with his previous good friend was simply him behaving emotionally.
What occurs after should stay a shock, however for me, that is GVM at his messiest greatest since Neethane En Ponvasantham. In his movies, an ex isn’t simply an excuse to run to the TASMAC bar. An individual’s previous is handled with a terrific stage of dignity and love will get the respect it deserves, even when that particular person could not stay the identical to you right this moment. It simply lets love be, devoid of labels and guidelines, and that’s a radical concept at this cut-off date.