No prizes for guessing what this blog is all about. It is my take on Naan Kadavul which was in the pipelines for nearly two years and finally released last week amid huge expectations.
The expectations are justified to an extent where Bala takes us to a realm, the sphere of beggars which shows how they 'live' or rather how they 'survive'. They are a bunch of people whom we see quite often but never cared to delve deep. It is a brilliant portrayal of the deprived ones who have nothing to do in this materialistic world and how an eternally detached 'Aghori' from Kasi brings out the God in himself.
The plot unfolds in Kasi where a father comes back in search of his outcast son and much to his shock finds him as an Aghori who gives out blessings to the dead ones. He takes him back to his hometown in Tamil Nadu where he refuses to move around in the society. The premise of the movie sets here. The small village is a host to a unruly beggar kingdom of Thandavan where he exploits the deformities of lesser mortals and makes a living out of it. The sequence introducing his urupidis is particularly intriguing and the worth of a Ilayaraja background score is realised. On the other side, Arya finds a place for his asanams in the hills of the temple where he crosses path with the urupidis' lives. He remains non-committed to their sufferings and finally unleashes his gore when disturbed. The plot is ably supported by small characters and their humourous chit-chats. Music forms the essential part in realising the weight of the situation and who other than the Maestro to do it the best. Pooja as a helpless blind girl gives out a good performance, probably her best till date. Arya's performance deserves special mention. He has put in a lot of homework for his appearance and it has paid off. He surely has a long way to go when compared to the likes of previous Bala's other heroes, Vikram and Surya. This might come as a big break in his fledgling career. This is basically a director's movie and Bala takes cinema to a different level. You cannot compare this with his previous works, but deserves a special place.
I always had the notion that Bala never knows the meaning of commercial cinema and this movie upholds my view. There are no duets, no good looking leads running aroung trees with hundreds of dancers behind them, no crass double entendres and no mindless bashing up of villain's men. In fact, Arya, the movie's protagonist is seen in the movie for only around 40-45 minutes. We know the director is known to break sterotypes, E.g, Pithamagan's first scene was based in a graveyard breaking all industry conventions to start in a temple/something auspicious, and this movie follows suit. There were instances in the movie where the characters badmouthing the God.
The movie falls under the 'rarest of the rare' category of 'stunning yet not watchable even once'. The Kollywood concept of repeat audience may never work for this flick where watching the complete movie once stirs out the butterflies in your stomach. It is advisable to walk into the movie hall with a bottle of water in your bag. This is definitely not the one for those feel good movie lovers and it could turn out to be a horrific experience and may disturb your sleep. The movie has its downside as well. Some parts of the movie is never explained like how the father identifies Arya in Kasi and how he gets to kill Thandavan. Editing is a letdown where some scenes show abrupt ending.
My rating would be 3.5/5. It is a classic of its own kind and minus the gore and filth could have brought more people to the theaters.