DO WE NEED AN ‘AMBU’ FROM THE ETERNAL MANMADHAN?
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By Behindwoods Visitor Sivaram.L
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Do 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 from him’

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
Kamal

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’ disgusting sham!

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 cd!

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?!


Sivaram L
ucanpostme@gmail.com

Tags : Manmadhan Ambu, Hey Ram, Aalavandhaan, Anbe Sivam, Kamal

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