I am back from watching Purampokku Engira Podhuvudamai in the theatre (wailing babies and noisy kids in full attendance as always).
What is the take home message PEP offers? A few actually. It offers opinions on communism, capital punishment, first world countries using developing and under-developed nations as a dumping ground for their electronic and nuclear waste, alcoholism and crime, rigid laws and an establishment that does not work for the welfare of its people, right versus wrong (etc).
Do you want to know what I was reminded of? (Sorry, you don’t have a choice now). Uma Riyaz Khan in Anbe Sivam. There was a comrade. You believed that she believed in her ideology, you didn’t laugh when she arrived riding a motorcycle, you didn’t wonder if she was as capable as her peers. Now imagine Karthika, looking like a high maintenance Zumba instructor in those capris and tees and sneakers, but performing the salute and scheming to rescue Arya from prison. Don’t you want to laugh? (A little bit at least?) Also, her name is Kuyili. Every time somebody called her Kuyili, at least five people in my row had a smirk (myself included). [If you ask me, there is only one Kuyili I will always think of, and she danced on a boat.] And then there is Arya, who looks the same before AND after he was hanged. Here I was reminded of that scene where Vivek tries out different readings of the same line “Eppdi irundha naa ippdi aaiten”, and at his most subtle acting, he’s barely speaking the lines. That is Arya for you. I read a review which says Arya delivers a subdued performance. Is that what we are calling it these days? Vijay Sethupathy looks bored and does not seem to be doing anything new (rather disappointingly so), he gets a song about an aaya who sells tubers, where he (tries to) shake a leg with some prostitutes, and this song competes with another duet featuring Arya-Karthika right before a suicide bombing mission in the Himalayas (Answer briefly: at what point were you most irritated?). Arya and Karthika travel all over India fighting for different causes (which makes it hard for us to support them), though Karthika seems to have had no role in the train hijacking, except to look glamorous while sitting on a camel. Surprisingly, I liked Shaam the best – with his accented Tamil and that name, he was very effective as a police officer who follows the law.
No, I don’t mean to say I disliked the movie. I quite liked it – as a concept. Somehow, it doesn’t translate as much to cinema. Though I liked Peranmai more as an idea (partly because I was a cadet myself), PEP felt like the better (smoother?) movie.