Sunday, June 05, 2016


There have been films that flow on an overdrive of essential content - those that exemplify one or some of the crucial ingredients, while leaving the rest out of its recipe. Some of these have gone on to become great hits while some leave our memories faster than a frail fart. Occasionally, there are those that are made because they need to be made. They flow along a straight line without causing a ripple, but they stir your existence from within. These are those that send a soft signal to the soul, questioning the acceptance of regularity. These are those that build a tunnel to the heart and leave a lump of melancholy. These are those that makes one feel light with heaviness. I have watched such movies in other languages - some Iranian and French - and have craved for them in mine. Iraivi has quenched.
It is evident that Karthik Subbaraj has made the movie twice - once in his mind and then on the reel. The former must have been a long internal battle - a struggle to bring to shape the multitude of characters, to perfect their imperfection, to give them their purpose. The script that has yielded is picture perfect, pun intended. The neatness of the movie is a result of completely pre-built sequence of scenes that he has corrected and re-corrected. There is no character wasted, no time lost. This is an art, one that will last for long. Someone is surely going places.
Every human has two sides - The male is prone to strong emotions although it cloaks them well, while the female is balanced in mind but fragile at heart. The male cannot think objectively although it lays the objectives, while the female ploughs through peril to keep the path straight. The male is prone to regret for weak reasons, while the female is capable of irreparable damages. This results in a vicissitude of behavior that strongly impacts anyone that comes in contact. The accepted notion of the role of a woman in a household is a very delicate subject. In many societies, it is more so, because it is accepted by the women themselves. Their strength and grit is unconquerable except by a man. This is an irony because man is weak. Iraivi explains this in a strong screenplay, with a fitting subtle background score by Santhosh Narayanan.
The film hits hard because there is such clarity in the display of cast - the wreck that a seemingly modern woman with a daughter to care for is in, because of an obsessive alcoholic husband - the solitude that a widow embraces, and how she could be called characterless for seeking what everyone seeks - the smile of a free spirit that gets lost because it is bound to an impulsive ogre - the plot is a crochet around the life of these women that get dragged because of their chains. The involved men are not bad, but they are men. There is a lot of symbolism too, some are bound to be missed. There is subtlety in the end, in how one woman chooses not to go out in the rain, while the other is drenched with an outstretched hand.
SJ Surya deserves a special mention for the stunning depiction of his role! He sums up the idea of the film in the end, displaying some serious skills of acting and dialogue delivery. Anjali is an exemplary performer in all circumstances where she stands tall in spite of the crumbs falling around her. Vijay Sethupathi is his usual self, he is mastering such roles. Bobby Simha breezes through as a negative overshade although he is the only mars that truly understands venus.
Iraivi is feminist of the real kind - not the one that shows random external fortuity in which the scales are tilted against women and where the men are bĂȘte noire - but the one that shows their perpetual inner struggle, where there are no scales but just the normally accepted norms which men are part of. The movie is a fabric designed with a delicate interweave of tensile threads, each having strengths and weaknesses of its own. Each serves a purpose, complete in their parts. Each renders a firm influence of its individual charm on the fabric while the weaver craftily braids them along an intricate pattern that forms a holistic masterclass. Iraivi is masterclass.