In a single line, Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada can be categorized as, “The Hunter Becomes The Hunted.”
Gautham Menon uses this idiom to flesh out a feature film. I don’t know if he had this thought while writing it. But, this theory was heavily running in my head while watching it.
Simbu is a happy-go-lucky guy who isn’t worried about anything in particular. Tamil cinema’s fresh face, Manjima Mohan, is a friend of one of Simbu’s on-screen sisters. Simbu’s name isn’t revealed till the end of the film as it holds a magnified sense of aura around it. Gautham has, in many interviews, explained how he understood women with the help of his sisters. The film’s protagonist has two sisters and the filmmaker also has two sisters. Coincidence, you say?
It feels like Simbu is speaking about Gautham’s life in the first few scenes. The way he pronounces the word – ‘situation’ – reminded me of the writer - director. Gautham’s most used narrative devices, ‘voice-over’, makes an entry here too. What’s fascinating regarding his characters’ monologs is that he makes them seem effortless.
Kaashmora which was released around two weeks ago merged comedy, action, and superstition in unlikable proportions. In this movie, Gautham has experimented with the technique a lot. How can all the songs from the soundtrack album feature in the first one hour itself? How can romantic segments make way for action episodes? How do these two genres sit comfortably in the same film? Wait… there’s another question I have for Gautham which I’ll come back to later. ‘Thalli Poga Matten!’
Every film comes with a stamp. Some have the stamp of the director; some have the stamp of the leads; whereas, some have the stamp of the production house (don’t let your eyes go wide; I’m looking at Dharma Productions + Vishesh Films). Gautham’s films belong to his camp. Even if a Kamal Haasan or an Ajith Kumar stars in it, at the end of the day, it’s a Gautham Menon film.
If VTV was swimming in the sea of urban romance and its complications, AYM sidesteps the complications-part by allowing its hero to face his fears head-on. There’s a moment in the film where Simbu tells the audience that he has become a man. What he really means is that he’ll get to the bottom of the problem that shook him in the beginning.
A. R. Rahman’s music drops endearing bombs during the first hour. All the five songs pop up one after the other and the most-loved “Thalli Pogathey” makes a special appearance at a poignant moment. The hero and his lady start out to understand each other through a series of songs and well-shot scenes. Every song speaks to the nature of the hero’s mind quite poetically. It is sort of a dream-world to catch Rahman’s music in this form.
The violent thud I was looking for fell at the right place (before the intermission) naturally. The transition from romance to action happens unnoticeably, and that I think is a brave attempt by the filmmaker.
The songs are gone. The romantic road trip is gone. What next, you ask? Gautham comes along with a bowlful of hot soup. This is where Simbu becomes The Man. No, he’s not a superhero, or something, like that. He’s just an ordinary guy who’s hell-bent on knowing the truth.
The seamless progression from one genre to another is the bedrock of this experimentation. Although the ending is crammed into a ten-minute sequence of over-talk, it doesn’t alter the plausible-tone of the film.
Well, I’ve come to the question I wanted to ask Gautham earlier. When will the lady who accompanies the hero on his adventurous trips work with him in tandem and bring the bad guy to book?
Finally, if I don’t round this off without saying how “Thalli Pogathey” is a surreal piece of wonderment, I won’t be able to sleep. There… I said it!
Written by - Karthik Keramalu
Watch Fully Filmy's exclusive interview with Gautham Menon here;