Monday, October 23, 2006

Nayagan (1987)

I've got just one question: Are there any Mani Ratham films that aren't good?

This one came by recommendation of Sid's Guide to Kollywood. I think I mentioned before that Dil Se is one of my favorite Indian films. It's also one of the first I watched. Part of the reasons Dil Se "got me good," as I like to say, is because of the cinematography.

The "hook" in Nayagan is the story, and a deceptively simple one. A kid (Velu) sees his father get killed and stabs the guy who did it. The kid later sees his father figure smuggling illegal goods--did they ever say what it was?--and he takes up smuggling in his father's place. Father figure gets killed, the kid (now grown) kills the guy who did it. It's a continual give-and-take of action-reaction sequences building brick upon brick to the concluding moment which, while fitting for the life Velu has lived, neither sympathizes nor sermonizes.

Now for my notes:

  • Could the kids have been anymore cute?! That little girl was dressed like a princess every time she showed up on screen. Freakin' adorable!
  • The moment where Velu's daughter asks whether or not it was his fault that mommy died--ouch. The look on Kamal Hassan's face spoke volumes. That was a great moment.
  • Saranya looks a heck of a lot like our friend Kajol here, no?
Other than that, I can only say, "Did the retarded guy have to be the one? For reals?" I thought the same thing after watching The Village. True, there are mentally handicapped people who have issues and may do something dangerous but using them as a cinematic tool to do so is unsettling to me because in media there are NO images of mentally handicapped people behaving harmoniously to balance out the crazy attacker images. *steps off soapbox*


indianoguy said...

Yeah I agree, The kids are really cute, especially the girl. I remember watching Nayakudu(Telugu version) when I was around 8-9 years old. I fell in love with that girl and believed I would marry her one day.

On a serious note, I remember crying while watching this movie and I rarely cry while watching a movie.

Anjali said...

Kannathil Muthamittal is a definite must-see, if you haven't already. the movie really tugs at the heartstrings. my favorite mani ratnam still is Alai Payuthey, but if you've seen the hindi remake, it's a shot by shot replica, so there isn't much point in seeing the tamil version. nice blog!