**** SPOILER ALERT ****
The wait for eight years- hearts were heavy with a sense of guilt growing within for we have failed the faith of the genius while the self was filled in a tremendous amount of excitement on his next to just devour the delight of the Craftsman's creation!
The master arrived, backed by three gifted storytellers and great performers with a film that this minute drives us crazy, ecstatic, proud and awed. It will do the same for years to come for his tale and the telling of it is a fascinating, flawless brilliant beautifuck! It is a drug! It is high! It is an obsession! It is Kumararaja's Cinema! This interestingly intelligent and intense film comes with nuances one can write books about. Here's a list that details the fantastic five among them:
Disco of Life:
Shakespeare states, "All the world's a stage, All the men and women merely players", in an analogy set in parallel to this, Kumararaja states our life is nothing but a disco! He begins the film with Bappi Lahiri's bouncy ' Am a Disco Dancer' and his uniquely crafted characters are dancers who dance to the tunes of love, faith, lust, fear, life itself and the beyond.
The boys get to groove with Andiyile Vaanam; Maasi maasam reveals what Shilpa and Manickam is. As the boys enter Idi Amin's house, funeral beats set in and as Berlin sets trap for Mughil and Vaembu, Yuvan's brilliance seeps in as brisk beats in Kumararaja's Disco of the natural and supernatural.
The dance ends with the unravelling of Life's Secret and there again goes Am a disco dancer rendering it all complete. Looking at the lyrics of this number:
To Jhoomo, To Nacho
Aao mere Saath naacho gao
(So Sway! So dance! Come, sing and dance with me!)
It seems like an invite by the creator himself who enjoys his art to the best that he wants us to experience the elations it can excitingly offer. We did visit the rare and radiant Disco! Indeed, multiple times! We did Sing and dance! Days after the visit, the songs fill the heart and the legs still seem to groove in the direction of the theatres!
The Language of Super Deluxe
Super Deluxe speaks the language of cinema with such fluency that it is a treat to all our senses. The director has no desire in deception but details which he has left all throughout. They remain structured and not scattered. Every single sound! Every single shot! Every single light and colour! He makes it all count for all of them are strictly and strikingly in connection to the story and its structure. Nothing pops out of nowhere- the TV talks of aliens and so do the posters that fill the walls of the streets Shilpa walks her kid through. The wall also carries numerous posters of Vaazhvin Ragasiyam. As diamonds arrive as a miracle, the marmam is demystified the very next scene in an episode playing on the TV.
Well, the TV does play an intriguingly important role in the film. It shapes and shifts the story. Mohan breaks the TV in a fury post seeing his mother in a porn flick. There begins his quest for an avenge fueled by disgust which leads us to Leela and Arputham. The wreck in the TV leads the three boys in a quest for money. The interval is an epic highpoint which again involves the Television!
It is the TV that kills and saves trouble.
That explains exactly why Kumararaja made his titling on a Television screen.
In an interview of Kumararaja from 2016, it is noted that this film is his homage to Samsaram Adhu Minsaram, the 1986 family drama which deals with the conflicts among couples, siblings and parents in a household.
Extending the electricity, Kumararaja here explores the equation of relationships with three couples. The equation: L.H.S=R.H.S! One single dialogue and look at its lead to the story. This is what Mughil tells Vaembu stating that both of them are the same; the equals.
Later, Shilpa discovers that she isn't the only one suffering but Joti too- they are equals. The scene where Joti and Shilpa have a happy conversation while Raasukutti enjoys an ice cream is an absolute beauty.
Arputham tells Leela, "You and I are the same. You beg to people, I beg to God! You pray for your son while I pray for everyone's children!" and in a point that defines one of the prominent philosophies of the film, the not-of-this-world girl states we are all the same! Everyone are equals!
The Sexes and Sex:
In exploring the dynamics of relationships, the film addresses the issues around gender highlighting masculinity, femininity, the mix of both, the battle of both and the associated stereotypes.
The gender aspects talked are substantiated with the colours of orange, blue and red with which the film is painted.
Shilpa wears a mix of orange and blue which denotes the battle of baffled genders within her. Joti is clad in a red mixed orange saree and in her, we see a genuine form of love that endures and accepts.
Mughil wears a dark blue pull-over and a red shirt within. He initially reveals himself to be one while he is actually fragile, kind and helpless.
Vaembu is in a blue mixed grey top and is wearing a red shirt over it. Within her, is a streak of masculinity- she defies the concept of chastity that seems to hold ridiculously applicable only to women. In all of us, there lies a mix of these gender restricted qualities that are actually universal. It talks of them all with no judgement.
Vaazhvin Ragasiyam - The secret of life is its source. It is a shame we have grown stealthy in addressing sex, that today it has become a taboo.
Kumararaja shatters this majoritarian misconception with a bold beauty that is raw and relevant. As the Doctor asks can we see how this meaningless yet beautiful lives of ours begin in a playful note, the film ends with Vaazhvin Ragasiyam flashing at us. Remember how the film began? Yes, when Vaembu was having sex with her ex-boyfriend.
Each of the individual stories with which Kumararaja makes up the whole has sex underlying in it for it is the natural physical aspect that connects the sexes.
Shilpa chooses to transform her sexuality and seeks acceptance in a lethal society. Leela's former profession of acting in sex flicks and her son's discovery of the same leads to another storyline.
There is even a character named after lust- the amusing and catty Gaaji.
Totally, it is all a Beautifuck!
The philosophies that effortlessly seat itself in this fun ride run profound and powerful. The questioning of our belief systems is a vital point to take note of.
Arputham takes a statue that saves him for God while Shilpa states reasonably, "Athu verum kallu thaana saami!" Shilpa calls him Saami in reinforcement that the individuals who form this messed up universe and the science that structures the same are the ultimate.
When Shilpa arrives at Raasukutti's school and tries explaining her cause to the impatient teacher who would not even listen to her and keeps repeating himself, there is a Thirukural in the wall that goes:
Theivathaan Aaaga thenninum Muyarchithaan
Meivaruthak kooli tharum
The divine and your unflinching faith in it may not prove you any rewards but your own efforts will! When we try to reason aided by such arguments with a certain lot, they wouldn't listen but just shoo us away. Mughil, the aspiring actor mouths philosophies on caste, mob mentality, democracy, banking and condemns the system stating that it sucks. That is what Berlin tells too-the system sucks.
These are just a few droplets of the magnificent delight Kumararaja has provided us. While revisiting his interview with Baradwaj Rangan from 2016, a strangely intimate connection flows from what he is to what this film of his is. Following is quoted from the interview:
"The films he saw subsequently were with his uncle, who had dreams of becoming an actor and would drag his nephew along to the theatre. Kumararaja is a sucker for escapist cinema. He loved Annai Or Aalayam. He loved Patanathil Bootham. Your personal genie! What more could a boy want? And then, Thiruvilayaadal. They would show it on TV. Local temples would play the audio tape. He knows the dialogues by heart."
Well, that explains quite a lot! He is the force and Tamil Cinema! May you be with the force.