Saw Nayakan for the umpteenth time again on Saturday in Podhigai and could not but marvel at this masterpiece. Clearly one of Mani's timeless classics. Every scene is the movie is so carefully sculpted that it would be impossible to single out the best. Purely from a screenplay standpoint, here are some of the scenes that will always stand out in my memory
* when the Police Commisioner begs Kamal to avenge the injustice done to his daughter and Kamal's reaction & body language in the whole scene (It is believed that Varadaraja Mudaliar used to actually sit on the floor instead of the sofa and talk to his people, exactly the same way as Kamal does in the movie.. Now that's homework for you) Watch out again when the Police Commisioner returns to thank Kamal and also warn him. He departs saying his daughter is now truly happy - check out Kamal's reaction to that.
* when Kamal's daughter confronts Kamal in the courtyard after seeing Janakaraj and Co: indulge in violence near Jehangir Art Gallery. The dialogue in this scene is simply brilliant, showing how 'right' and 'wrong' is all a matter of perspective.
* when the ailing Kamal listens to Nizhalgal Ravi explain how he will eliminate the approver and then Kamal symbolically hands over reins to his son by calling him Naicker and offering him paan. Just watch how Ravi eats that paan. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah !
* the entire chain of sequences when Nasser and the cops raid the slum in search of Kamal starting with Delhi Ganesh's arrest culminating in Anjamma setting herself on fire.
Of course I have deliberately omitted the two scenes that have become almost synonomous with the film namely the climactic "Neenga Nallavara Kettavara" scene and the death of Nizhalgal Ravi but then, IMHO, they are a tad over-rated.
Btw, Sunday night and Yuva was on in Zee Cinema. Though my views on this movie are well documented here, one small point that caught my attention this time around was that the color schemes that have been used for each of the three sections (red for AB, green for Ajay and blue for Vivek) of the first half are a lot more subtler than I had first imagined. For instance, when Michael goes to the villages exhorting the people to stand up for themselves, observe carefully that the doors for most of the houses are in green. Ditto for the walls of Michael's own home. In Lallan's case, many of the houses in the barracks where he stays have rusted doors / roofs which are mostly reddish brown in color.
It isn't often that Tamil audiences are blessed with The Super Star's movie release but then after the colossal failure of Baba, expectations were sky high of Chandramukhi. Slated to open on Tamil New Year's Day, the buzz in cine circles was not whether it would be a hit or not but whether it would do enough business to make up for even Baba. Even though The Super Star had promised to release lesser number of prints and price tickets affordably hoping to return to the old MGR formula of using House Full boards and word-of-mouth to ensure the success of the movie, ground reality was exactly the opposite. No suprises then when I heard that Rohini in Koyambedu was selling balcony tickets for Rs 225 over the counter and there were atleast 8 halls releasing the movie on the same day even in Bangalore. Advance booking for these movies is a farce so resolving to watch the movie in black, I set out on Thursday to my aasthana SriBalaji theatre.
"All shows Houseful saar. Inikku 5 shows, Rendu balcony tickets for matinee venuma...velay jaasthi..500 roobaah aagum...Evening show ticket irukkku...Rs 150 for one ticket...show 8 manikku" said my friendly watchman Veeresh.
I am a huge RAJINI fan (which Tamilian isn't...if not he ain't Tam) but for a minute I hesitated to shell out this steep rate simply because my friends who had seen Apthamitra had not had very nice things to say aout the movie and reluctant to waste such hard earned money on a prospective dud, I chickened out. A holiday still cannot be wasted so I went and watched Mumbai Express FDFS promising to myself that I would watch SUPER STARs movie over the weekend. Come Sunday and it was 1 in the afternoon when my weekend-movie-partner and I met for our usual rendezvous. The touts at Urvasi were asking for Rs 250 for a balcony ticket and Rs 150 for a rear stall ticket but there was still an hour to go for the movie. One of the biggest skill sets I have acquired over the last 3-4 years of movie watching is this ability to negotiate tough with touts at movie halls. The first rule to follow is that you must never reveal to the seller that you are depserate to watch the movie and that going back home is not an option. The second rule is that when there are more than one sellers you should shop around and pit one against another. After those inital minutes of carefully gauging the situation, you must put on a brave face and wait till the opponent blinks first. For example, I finally bought two C row rear stall tickets for Rs 100 each at around 1:50 pm when the seller was getting jittery that he might end up not selling some of the tickets (he had around 15 more) Of course in another 10 minutes with the movie slated to start at 2, he might have become even more desperate and sold it cheaper but then you might end up buying tickets for seats which are not together, seats which are too near the screen or as it happened in one case yesterday, the seller got so sick of his buyer's bargaining that he decided to see the movei himself again for the second time. Anyway, I got sidetracked. Coming back to the movie itself. CHANDRAMUKHI rocks... So what if its totally unlike any of the other Rajini movies where he simply hogs all the limelight, so what if there are no punchlines, so what if the fights are too few and far between, so what if there is no villain to hate, so what if the songs are very average, so what if the plot resembles that of an Amar Chitra Katha, so what if Jothinka thinks popping her (already) huge eyes out will win her a National award, so what if Saurav Ganguly keeps putting in guest appearances in every single reel, so what if the original Malayalam director is ranting at this murder of his super duper effort...CHANDRAMUKHI rocks.... simply because it is Thalaivar's movie and the only ratings that are possible are AWESOME and ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. Did I forget to mention that I almost died when I opened my big mouth and asked the guys sitting in front of me to sit down and watch the movie ? I cannot believe I was such a damn fool to ask genuine 'rasigars' to not enjoy/celebrate lyrics like
Annonda paatu attam poduda
Akkaraiya ketta artham nooruda (reallyy ???)
Sakkadaikkul pogi, southam seiyum pearu
naalu naal leevu potta, naari pokum ouru
Hey deavuda deavuda
Ezhu malai deavuda
Enga pakkam chududa
Enkalu ullamkal ellamea vairankal
Nee konjam patta thidda
Get into thalivar's confused brain and make him sign one last 'masala' movie...Plsssssssss.....