|Movie poster (source: Internet)|
As I was lamenting recently, we have not watched a movie in a proper theatre for eons now. I really cannot remember what I last saw. Most likely it was The Hobbit, and that was months ago. So many many movies have released since then and everyone is talking about so many things now - at some point we just gave up trying to keep track.
I was keen to watch Papanasam as I am keen to watch all Kamal Haasan movies in general. Since we noobs like that, I carefully booked tickets online and read through the text that said you don't need a ticket or printout or anything you can see touch or feel. We showed up a couple minutes late (I am blameless, I was ready well in time, obviously) and rushed through to find our seats and sink in.
Before we knew it we were immersed in the land of Papanasam. The usual fixtures of pristine and idyllic village surroundings with few references to the modern world. The peek into the life of a Cable TV operator/owner. Village school. Green fields. Even the mud was clean and not grimy. Kamal leaned his arms on the gleaming granite table top of the Tea Kadai, and I looked for dust. I peered into the corners of their house looking for fine mud. Nothing. All squeaky clean.
Almost like it was meant as a metaphor for the life of this ideal family-of-four. Squeaky clean all loving no dark grimy spaces in anyone's head. Well except for some passing discussions about porn on late night cable - not that that worried me over much, frankly.
So I was expecting the usual - daughter is raped, father takes umbrage and murders the rapist, courtroom drama (I recently re-read To Kill A Mocking Bird, so yes, that was on my mind a little bit), bad police officers, etc. When the story unfolded and I realised that things were not as simple as I expected, I was pleasantly surprised! And then it unfolded more and got quite complex and I was super intrigued.
I really started enjoying it a lot when I realised that it was a well made, non-rubbishy, somewhat intelligent story. With no comedic segues - the banana peel variety of current day Tamil movie comedic interludes are too annoying and loud if you ask me. I did not miss that. No time wasting on song and dance sequences in contrived Valentine's day set-in-Switzerland perhaps-in-a-dream perhaps-not. As much as I like to hum along to these foot-tapping numbers, no, I did not miss that.
The lady IPS office was a good touch - she was easy to hate from the get go somehow, despite having that gobs of curly hair like mine. Anant Mahadevan was a muttery sort of spineless husband who made limited sense but as a weak character in the movie, he was easy to ignore. Gautami as the wife was sufficiently harmless as was demanded of her character, while the children were actually pretty good and cute.
Overall, I emerged from the movie theatre feeling pretty darn good. Sure, we can punch a bunch of holes in the story. Yes, some of the acting was dumb (not Kamal, he was perfect as always). And the place was just too physically clean to be believable. But it was good. I liked it and it warmed the cockles of my heart. And yes, as usual it made me want to visit this squeaky clean place - we even looked it up on the map. :-)
While I am being a fan let me also link to the-person-who-generally-makes-me-prefer-reviews-to-movies:
Brangan on Papanasam