Saturday, August 9, 2008







RATING: ***1/2

What is the difference between The Departed and Subramaniapuram? (And what needs mention here is that this is not a question of royalty or originality but a comparison of two works of class or more aptly, trendsetters) Talk about the music score: If Hollywood says Howard Shore blasted cinemas with a rollickingly outrageous score that just had TNT written on it, I would say James Vasanthan proved that he’s more than just justified at being a critic on telly, for Subramaniapuram’s music score was nothing short of pure finesse. Wicked was it not when the chant of Subramaniapuram roars in the background with Sasikumar’s new trend of stabbing with a knife (And ingenious that is!) hogging the forefront? Wicked was it not when James decides to score one of the most devastating of music when the mob stabs Azhagar (Jai) right in front of his lady love with her being directly responsible for it to be happening? Romantic isn’t it when Jai smiles with a shake of his head at his woman with her looking as wildly childish as innocence really is?

So what’s different between these two movies one must ask himself (This is a totally masculine movie by the way, the reason why I am not mentioning the heroine’s name is that she was nothing but a mere knot in the plot) particularly if he realizes that this one is an Indian exploit of Hollywood’s action. And here are our fingers pointing at the word I accidentally let slip! ACTION!!! Wow. That’s the thing that’s totally missing in a majority of Subramaniapuram which adopts a more sober and dull way to its leads’ finish as well as it’s own taking the Anjaadhe route: Except that here, it’s the vice versa. Anjaadhe had one of the most dragging climaxes the silver screen would ever have seen, and this movie had an overall dull demeanour that gets red hot in the end. As cold as the red liquid that oozes inside the vessels of a crocodile, rather…

This film’s incredibly short for one that needs Kollywood as the medium of its surfacing and one wonders how this man (Sasikumar) was ever allowed to make a ‘movie’ when producers and distributors are actually laying pieces of something that had to be done in secluded spaces, in multiplexes as much as suburban cinema halls (This goes for you too, the crew and the cast and both of DASAVATHARAM!!!) rather than on the screen! (And god I wish people get this statement, I am tired of using metaphors, similes and hints!) Two hours and sixteen minutes of cinema, with a half hour of fun, frolic and romance, another half hour of wacky action, fifteen or so minutes of seriousness and the actual meaning of the movie, and then it’s raw betrayal and treachery: As raw as that showcased in The Departed or even the classic ‘Reservoir Dogs’ for that matter (Not to mention the famous walk that is reproduced with the chant of Subramaniapuram, tickling your lips to widen with glee as you see three of the seven men of Reservoir Dogs in this!). And as for character similarities, Sasikumar is the movie’s Harvey Keitel, (Mr. White) Jai is more or less a really indigenous hero with a smile on his face most of the time, except maybe when he springs up and punches the knife right into a man’s shoulder plate with the camera looking up from the ground (Boy that was fantastic!) and when he dies right in front of the girl, because of her (That was terrifying, really!) Ganja Karuppu is the film’s Tim Roth (I don’t want to share much about character traits for that’s part of the suspense and if I haven’t broken it already, I don’t want to break it further!) while the rest of the guys are as much faithful as Michael Madsen or even Quentin Tarantino (Who dies in the movie incidentally, and that’s the difference).

Incidentally I did not know or I did not care about the 80s style of the movie, with bell-bottom pants, frequency of smoking and liquor, (Bold indeed Sasi!!!) posters of Murattu Kaalai, streets, temples, autorickshaws, cycles, but I must say that the only reason why this movie was fascinating inch-by-inch was because of the music. James Vasanthan obviously did not care to recreate the feel of the 80s in his score but rather to scintillate the screen and to do justice to the emotionally intense script Sasikumar had written (He did more than just justice actually). Whoever would have thought about using symphonies extensively in the Kangal Irandaal song? Great work indeed Mr. James, and for life’s sake get out of TV, there’s a whole country’s music held at the ransom of mediocrity thanks to a battalion led by a single man (No marks for guessing who he is! And no hard feelings too, cause everyone who reads me ought to know that I am biased!! :P). Anyway, the music’s great, the lyrics are beautiful I must say, and eventhough songs hamper a film’s pace, they worked fine for this piece of cinema because maybe the feel of it was sullen already. Maybe it all is a premonition of the doomsday that it turned out to be: Maybe Sasikumar is one emotional fella who doesn’t want his candid viewer to get out of the tragedy for days together (It lasted a night in me, particularly thinking how I’d feel if I died because the girl I loved, loved me too dearly to watch me struggle to live that she’d rather I died!)

Subramaniapuram is a cult classic of Tamil cinema: Kanagu’s two-facedness will never be forgotten by any vivid watcher, for no one knows how even my blood boiled, maybe as much as Paraman’s did (Sasi) as he dropped Kanagu’s severed head right at the place where his friend lost his life. It touches upon as extreme emotions as the magic of love, the pain of betrayal, the agony of a lover and the treachery of a friend, and the last scene where Mari mutters to the treacherous friend: “Avanga thane da namakku ellam?! Avangalukku eppadi unnala ippadi seyya mudinjidhu…? Nee anubavicha thandana pathaadhu da… Saavu” (And then he removes the man’s breath mask, as a tear trickles down the bloody betrayer’s beard, reminding us of how he let his friends’ flow all over the banks of one red river…)


N said...

I haven't read your review since I haven't seen the movie yet. But I notice that you've got the music director's name wrong. It's James Vasanth, not Vasanthan.
Will revisit this place after I watch the film.

Who were your XII class teachers?

Vishal.. A Stripling Awakens said...

I dont think the stabbing style was anything new.. If u did see TROY, you could see PITT doing the same in the beginning of the film.. but yea Sasi deserves everything...

Karthik - A David Lynch in the making... said...

See I knew him as James Vasanthan from TV shows and a lot of people know him that way. No offence but I don't know about his fancy for numerology. And btw Vishal I didn't see Troy, but I did feel that creating a style in a film is great work indeed. So Sasi is really good :)

Karthik - A David Lynch in the making... said...

Sorry but my class teachers were Priyadarshini of the chemistry department (Just the one ofc!)

Vishal.. A Stripling Awakens said...

am sorry but.. i dont approve u admiring that specific part in the film.. sasi is good.. but definitely not for that

jivi said...

You have such good flow in ur lang. man......every word is connected!!yea I shld accept for sure tht....u r an incredible writer or lets put it this way "COMPLICATED writer"...!!So many ideas and opinions put together in a single sentence!i thoroughly enjoyed reading ur blog!!

Karthik - A David Lynch in the making... said...

I don't know da! I am quite tired of Indian movies being just ethical and nothing more. So I felt that dealing with violence in a trend setting way as that Sasi did was commendable. Come on! Kubrick never was so keen to kill Alex Delarge and what not? So if you get my point, I must tell that the violence was more enthralling than even the betrayal behind it :)jv

Karthik - A David Lynch in the making... said...
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Karthik - A David Lynch in the making... said...

I must say it's an honour to have a girl admire serious writing. Not that girls are silly anyway. It's just that the ones I had met were incredibly hedonistic :D

Mano Mangaldas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mano Mangaldas said...


I thoroughly enjoyed reading your views on SUBRAMANIAPURAM.

I must complement on your choice of words, and your understanding of movies in depth.

Frankly, I was thinking that I was reading a professional movie-critics review of the movie... but I was pleasantly surprised to know that you are a 17 year old student.

Keep up the good work.. if you are interested in this field of reporting/reviewing.. you will gain great success. :)

All the best.