By S Vidyasagar
There are certain moments in life when you loose yourself to emotions like anger, lust, etc., become something else for a while, and return to your true self when you regain your composure. You would look back in wonderment at what had taken you over, and how silly and foolish you had been.
Nanpagal Nerathu Mayakkam (NPNM) evokes a similar feeling, in a movie running for under two hours and brilliantly stitched together with a series of absorbing visuals that look like water colour paintings of rural landscape of south Tamilnadu, topped up with a cacophony of songs and dialogues from old Tamil films. it was a joy to watch the rural country, its people, their land and life be presented with the masterful strokes of a very gifted artist.
It has been quite some time since a movie had me eating out of its hand, enjoying every morsel it had to offer thoroughly, and leaving me yearning for more – such was the quality of art that NPNM was.Every frame of the movie unfolds as a treat to the eyes, a stunning composition of colour and a brilliant experimentation with lighting. i have often gaped at the light blue tinge of the white that houses in south Tamilnadu are plastered with. it has a cool chromatic effect in the summer and evokes a warmth in the rains. But to see this white plaster make a great canvas for the cinematography of this film was quite revealing.
This movie seemed made for a very personal viewing experience, just made for a couch viewing experience in the comfort of your home. i am not sure how much would it have been enjoyed in a theatre. Many might find it slow and pointless.For the first few minutes, nothing much seems to be happening in the movie except for what looks like an impending accident that could crash on us anytime. But then the movie starts making you sit up when Mammootty stops the bus and gets off in the middle of rural Tamil country and starts walking out into the open and then walks into a house and behaves as though the house and its people were his own. Suddenly the plot and its attendant intricacies reveal themselves in all their splendid possibilities and invites the viewer to immerse into a charming world of many splendors.
The screen play gently tickles moral judgments and slowly pushes the viewer into taking the side of one corner or other of the scale, and then springs a sweet surprise with an unexpectedly easy and neat resolution to undo the moral knot that he had tied us into.
Mammootty revels in all the scope of acting this beautiful script provides. The bar scene invoking Gauravam dialogue was one sequence that brings the different glorious features of this film together- the acting, the play with the lighting, the soundtrack of a classic film, and the immense potential for drama.
However, the sequence that follows, in which a drunk Mammootty questions the people of his village could have been put together better. The making doesn’t quite live up to the potential drama in that sequence.
A very difficult truth that could break one down lands on a people, and they are shown to be taking to it with a great heart and showing great character. And its the beauty of these people and the character they show, that speaks of the immense nature of the human spirit, that makes this film even more beautiful. There are a few who happen to be small and react to it differently, but the Truth finally takes leave of these wonderful people with the soft treads of a dream, leaving these people smiling, with a little ache in their heart, at the
‘அலகிலா விளையாட்டுகள் ‘, the crazy ways of the world.