WE NEED AN ‘AMBU’ FROM THE ETERNAL MANMADHAN?
Behindwoods Visitor Sivaram.L
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we really need something as small as an
‘Ambu’ from the eternal Manmadhan
of Tamil cinema?! This was the question
I got when I watched Aalavandhaan one
more time – the nandhu asylum scenes,
the hallucination scenes, the flashback
scenes - in a state of reverie, sacrificing
a much needed good night’s sleep
in the weekend. My answer to my own question
was ‘No. We need mind-boggling Bazookas
The experimental persona of Kamal is a
bit reluctant to come out these days.
The genius in the actor-writer comes in
sparks in Aalavandhaan. Why cannot he
use the flair to the fullest, now that
he has reached an age of 56. Do we really
need a romantic comedy being picturised
in a cruise in Monte Carlo,with Kamal
romancing Trisha,?! Not that he cannot
make it look convincing in ‘Manmadhan
Ambu’and give us an
interesting watch. He can and he will. The question
is ‘should he?’. What pricks me is just
the fact that he hasn’t got a lot of cinema
years left in him. Let me be realistic here. He
can play the protagonist roles till he reaches an
age of say 65. This leaves only a handful of years
and the least I would like Kamal do is waste them
by acting in paisa-vasool comedy films.
So what is that I expect him to do? The answer is
a simple proposition. Give us a hard-hitting, soul
stirring, ‘food for thought’ film like
the gem ‘Mahanadhi’.
That was not the last of gems he had given but I
purposefully site it as it was the last successful
of such attempts. The other gems that failed have
been mega-budget flicks like:
Hey Ram – A wonderful, carefully
researched blast from the past. A Godseian view
of the partition of India told tastefully. It was
a casting coup of sorts and so was understandably
a high budget venture, the fact that it was a period
film didn’t help the monetary cause as well.
The net result was that people did not (or should
I say did not want to) take it. In raking the moolah,
it failed miserably. Many memorable scenes notwithstanding,
the only scene that became popular was the romantic
tryst between Saketh and Aparna – the youtube
hits of it being a proof to this viewers’
Aalavandhaan – Even though
it stays right on top in my list, I wouldn’t
call this a masterpiece. Nevertheless, it had its
own share of some mesmerizing sequences. Some of
Nandhu’s scenes were brilliantly etched by
Kamal. Unfortunately, not many watched those scenes
from the angle of a drug-hallucinated, paranoid
schizophrenic suffering from the trauma caused by
a step-mother in his miserable childhood. The net
result of this film was the talk that Kamal squandered
the money to send one more producer to exile.
Anbe Sivam - Another brilliant
work of his that suffered at the box office but
didn’t suffer at the hands of the audience
after its release was 'Anbe Sivam'.
The film was not complex like a Hey Ram or an Aalavandhaan,
yet it made people think. It remains a huge mystery
why the film didn’t fare well at the BO. Anybody
who has seen the film has only good views on it.
Maybe the problem was they all saw it in thiruttu
So, the analyses on these films would make my point
clear. If Kamal does an authentic emotional class
film that isn’t complex, the people would
accept it. Only when he chooses intricate concepts
to be made as films does he suffer. He seems to
have understood this. But, maybe understood that
a bit too much, because, he seems not only to have
given up writing complex scripts but also to have
given up making uncompromising films.
If the argument is that he makes such stop-gap films
to only get financial backing that would make get
his dream films like 'Marudhanayagam' and 'Marmayogi'
back to life, I have given the answers for that
too. No production house will be ready to fund such
interesting projects. Maybe, after the dream run
of ‘Enthiran’, Sun Pictures would. But
again, whether it would interest them to invest
such amounts in an experimental film of someone
whose track record has a perfect yet commercially
uncompromising Hey Ram in the list is a point to
ponder. They cannot be entirely blamed, for, they
are doing business. Afterall, a loud, crass ‘Singam’
earns, in its first few weeks, more than a semi-experimental
'Raavanan' in an urban centric Chennai which is
said to be a Maniratnam bastion. People’s
taste for films hasn’t seemed to have changed.
But with some tough arousing films, Kamal can cause
that change. He nearly did it on a few occasions,
only to falter at the final hurdle by giving either
a complex film or riding the upswing tide with a
commercial flick. All that the writer in Kamal needs
to do is, give a string of (not one, but a string
of) prudent, low budget, heart touching works instead
of wasting time in a luxury-liner at Monaco. What’s
the thrill in doing something everybody knows he
can do at ease!
If Clint Eastwood,at 80, can do that with ‘Million
dollar baby’, ‘Gran Torino’ &
’Invictus’ Kamal too can. He only needs
to realize it. Thalaivaa, Are you listening?!
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