Different Worlds – 25 years or 250 Kilometers away

I think I would trade Orthopaedic injury for any other illness ANY DAY. Why?
a. you can eat and drink anything
b. theres no nausea
c. you can eat and drink anything
d. dont have to pop a pill
e. you can eat and drink anything
Thats why!

My uninterrupted showtime is continuing for a “3rd successful week”. Last week, I watched 2 films which are not set in the World I live in.

‘Children of Men’ is in my opinion, the most important film made in 2007 (I have not seen ‘Eastern Promises’ yet and so I will reconfirm shortly!) – and I am not saying this in any temporary, post-movie hangover. It has actually been about 10 days since I saw it. Alfonso Cuaron – the guy who made the fun-but-profound ‘Y tu mama tambien‘ has written and directed the film.

It is set 25 years from now, when the human race loses its ability to reproduce (a.k.a its mojo!). That world is not ‘AI’ or ‘Minority Report’ish, but a darker one. One without hope. The first thing that hits you about the film is the art and production design that reflects this mood beautifully. The cars are ‘futurish’, but jaded; The city landscape dark – with uncleared garbage, and greying buildings – almost screaming at you with despair. It is not all about the facade. The detailing is equally stunning. In the shot below, the news papers on the wall carry fictional news of destruction of the times. Award winning stuff 😉

…and the long shots…wow!….7-8 minutes shots….not just dialogue, but action sequences. Beautifully choreographed….and no green screen! these are real time shots!!…..Now, I have never been a fan of film makers who employ visual effects simply because they can…but I dont think it is the case here……the visual language of this film is very distinct and is consistent from the start till the end credits……really, some of these shots make you pause and rewind…..not only becuase you loved it, but also because you cant believe they actually pulled it off!!

and the script….a philosopher’ delight…..the audience’s delight too! The way spirituality and politics of the land have been handled is very very interesting. Overall, the kind of film that you want to rip immediately and add to your private illegal collection…..the kind of film that will make you feel dissapointed if it din’t win the ‘picture of the year’…..and the kind of film that you want to force into the hands of the next person you see and say ‘go watch’!

…and then i watched another film from a different world…..no, not 25 years from now, but 250 KMs from chennai….’Achuvinte Amma’

How can a state that is a 2 hour bus ride from Coimbatore be so different from the rest of south India? how is it that milions of people in Kerala go to the theatre and watch ‘Achuvinte Amma’, when the movie does not have any sex; nobody is raped in the climax; no guns; no stunt sequences with earth shattering music; no dumb and deaf heroine; no lip synced songs; no close ups of navels; no songs shot in new zealand or greece; no crane or dolly shots ending in a close up of the hero mouthing a punch dialogue; not even a comedy track! what changes when you travel 250 KMS westwards from Chennai? If it is communism, then lets have a revolution ASAP….

I know I am not the first to ask these questions and I wont be the last.

‘Achuvinte Amma’ is a Sathyan Anthikad film that won a state award last year, along with Lal and Blessy’s Thanmatra. The protagonists are Urvasi and Meera Jasmine – two of the best actresses in the country, in my opinion. It is a tale of a mother and a daughter. A mother and daughter that we have all met in a bus, visited, lived next to or even have in our family! A simple yet poignant tale. I dont think they even rented a dolly for the film! But I totally loved the film.

The thing about Achu that glues you to the seat are the performances. I mean, obviously! Its Urvasi and Meera! I am a self-proclaimed Meera fanatic. There is something very peaceful about seeing her on screen….and boy, what a talent!! Loved her in Perumazhakaalam. Saw ‘Sandaikozhi’ only because she was in it….but this is probably my most fav Meera film yet (will reconfirm after seeing Rasathanthram)…why she will act in a SJ Surya film is beyond me…..;(