Ask any movie buff this question: “Which movie are you looking forward to this year?”
More often than not, without a tinge of hesitation he/she utters the words, “Super Deluxe”.
With just a couple of first looks, a few shooting spot images, a couple of trippy promos, a random video of the music director composing for the film and an infectiously engaging trailer, this film has garnered humongous interest and along with it the privilege of experiencing a huge buzz that is usually reserved for a ‘star film’. So what did the movie actually do to garner such attention from all centres of the audience?
THE LEGACY OF THIAGARAJAN KUMARARAJA:
Thiagarajan Kumararaja is one of those blessed directors who made a great film, a film that is still being talked about after a decade of its release and a movie that ran only for a week or so in theatres. Just like we don’t know the writer of our own individual fates, we don’t know the writer of Aaranya Kaandam’s fate either. We don’t know who was it that decided or judged Aaranya Kaandam as a film that deserved only a week’s time in the theatres. It was a movie which was much more rewarding to the torrent sites and TV channels than the filmmaker or the producer of the movie.
But art never betrays its creator. Years after its release, the movie is still being debated, discussed and of course, inspires youngsters. And in the meantime, even while people might have thought he’s vanished into oblivion, he’s apparently written several scripts that seemed ‘unmountable’. That’s why no one -- his friends, his colleagues, his collaborators, his fans, his critics -- none of them have given up on him. And that is precisely why his second film, right from the moment it was coined, is getting some unbelievable expectations.
Aaranya Kaandam stands testament to Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s fascination with cinematic violence and the world of gangsters. In other words, he is fascinated by the evidently existent grey shades that colour a human mind. The moment I learnt that Vijay Sethupathi was playing a role in it, all I anticipated and visualized in my mind’s eye was he playing a menacing, quirky gangster with a fancy moustache or a hair colour, masculinity oozing out of his eyes. And out of nowhere, this image went viral on Social Media.
To my shock and surprise, he was playing a role that radiated not masculinity, but charming, feminine grace: the role of a transgender woman. The Vijay Sethupathi we had here was gracefully dressed in a saree; her cheeks glowing in the hues of a rose. The sentence started with a masculine name like “Vijay Sethupathi”, and ended with addressing the character as “her” -- that’s how perfect ‘Shilpa’ of Super Deluxe looked.
The revelation made the audience open their mouths in shock and made some senseless critics shut their mouths in fear.
When a director casts an actress who is having a good success rate, you expect her to be wasted in the film, or in a role that says “Poi avana adi, avana kollu” to the hero motivating him to destroy the villain, or in a totally female centric movie where she plays a fearless cop or something of that sort, but what Samantha got was a panicky, flawed ‘Vaembu’. Every photo featuring her had fear and agitation written in her eyes. I was slowly digesting the idea when the promo featuring ‘Vaembu’ released where she was seen chopping someone with a butcher’s knife. It was again a shockingly sweet “WTF” moment.
The whole cast was revealed and it had some of our greatest talents attached to it: the effortlessly brilliant Fahadh Faasil who could fit into any role, the supremely commanding Ramya Krishnan and the forever-intense Mysskin. Such an ensemble cast induced cluelessness in the audience, which immediately turned into intrigue and excitement.
WORD OF MOUTH:
Yes, you read it right. “Word of mouth” is a term that usually goes around after the release of a movie, but it was the reverse for Super Deluxe. Indian film critic and independent filmmaker Sudhish Kamath was one of the select few who had seen the film, and was already raving about how this could be the greatest Tamil film ever, along with American writer and film critic/enthusiast Josh Hurtado among so many others who’ve been constantly reminding Twitter about the film’s brilliance and inadvertently making all of us burn with jealousy.
SAW 15 MINUTES OF KUMARARAJA'S SUPER DELUXE! It's abso-fuckin-lutely GORGEOUS, cut from same cloth as #AaranyaKaandam, gripping from first frame (yes, phone call over credits) & dives straight into conflict. Can't wait to see it! The MOST exciting Indian film this year already.— Sudhish Kamath (@SudhishKamath) March 27, 2018
When all this was spreading like a forest fire, Samantha released a picture of a line from the script of Super Deluxe, which read, “Here on the film behaves like it is high on coke”. Reading that line instantly brought that subconscious smile of admiration and adrenaline to anyone who loves cinema as an art.
The moment the first look got released, every movie fan’s hands involuntarily zoomed the bottom of the image, reading the names below the title. And am sure, the diameter of one’s eyeball went on increasing every two seconds.
With Yuvan Shankar Raja handling the music with Nirav Shah and P.S.Vinod behind the camera, there was this whole new aspect of the film that got our attention: the film has not 1, not 2, but 4 writers to its credit: Mysskin, Nalan Kumarasamy, Neelan K Sekar and Kumararaja himself.
While we are constantly witnessing huge filmmakers directing mega-budget movies having such feeble, wafer-thin content and great screenwriters failing when it comes to directing a scene, this move by Kumararaja to chop down all ego, to break all invisible rules and collaborate with a handful of talents was something not only appreciable but also a deed that deserves a warm welcome.
Fun fact: a tour-de-force called Anurag Kashyap was also supposed to be one of the writers on the film. As if this film didn’t have enough madness in it already!
Trailers usually give a basic glimpse of who the protagonist is and more often than not it reveals the major conflict the hero faces. Certain trailers just showcase the grandeur with which the movie is made; certain hero-centric films comprised only of the massy shots of the star. Thankfully, Super Deluxe’s trailer did none of the above.
With a powerful, intense narration by Vijay Sethupathi reciting a seemingly unrelated mythical tale of a man, a tiger, a snake and a honeycomb that sees the film’s characters on their individual journeys, the trailer does what a trailer is supposed to do: create the mood of the film and generate impalpable intrigue.
The trailer just subconsciously injects what the film is about, it buries the mystery of the plot so deep in our souls that even our mind fails to analyse it. But I bet we will all feel “Shit, they already revealed this in the trailer”, “God, I have been so dumb to not predict this from the trailer itself” after we have watched the film.
The repetitive, trippy monologue voiced by Vijay Sethupathi is without a doubt so seductive and gives such a high that when he finally says, “ Oru Naal” and sighs, we all sighed with him, such is the connect the trailer made with all of us. The feel the final musical piece by Yuvan gave when Vijay Sethupathi excitedly says, “Aagaa nu sonnaa” is nothing short of an orgasm.
With around 8 Million views and still counting, the trailer of Super Deluxe is probably one of the 2 best trailers ever made in Tamil Cinema: the other being the trailer of Kumararaja’s first film, Aaranya Kaandam.
The trailer effortlessly multiplied the buzz around the film a thousandfold.
THE SECRECY AROUND THE PLOT:
Whether you watch the trailer or the multiple interviews involving the cast and crew, we challenge you to try figuring out the plot of the film. This itself is a huge feat by the crew with the mind of Kumararaja campaigning and organizing all this.
The film, initially titled, “Aneedhi Kadhaigal”, made me think it was a Bala film when I heard it for the first time. I thought it was gonna speak about the tragedies of a few characters, a few ignored souls to be precise. Thankfully, the title got a rebirth and then we got introduced to the promos and finally the trailer.
And with every single collateral from the team, the only thing that kept oozing is the ‘X’ factor around what the film could be about, as opposed to any other film’s promotional campaign that sees Twitteratis tell us every single thing about the film from the plot to what the protagonist does for a living to its song placement to which half is going to have the ‘rain fight’ to when the heroine gets kidnapped.
All said and done, this potential gem; this drop of honey drips on the 29th of this month. Ticket-ah book pani, theatre la poi, thena nakki, aagaa nu sonnaaa…!!!