Sunday, December 19, 2010

Easan - some thoughts ...

So many spoilers !

Easan, for the most part, expresses the wrath and fury of Sasikumar towards the city youth and the pub/ discotheque culture. We couldn't quite ascertain if it is "personal" but the kind of turbulence with which the title character Easan is charged with, stands proof for the above. As Easan clobbers Chezhian's (Vaibhav) head and spine with a huge jack hammer/gear rod or whatsoever, you feel that chill down your spine and that moment summarises the movie for you. Sasikumar's eye in detailing blood/gore/flesh finds an expression in Easan too. 

There is a very natural dimension to the political/capital power - the contagiousness. A mere existence in its environment is sufficient enough for one to fancy power. Yes, I am very much referring to that tricky and elusive feeling - being the son of a big-shot, be it a big businessman or a politician, affordable only by the Mallyas and Marans though. It's something that has been exploited to a good extent in rendering a dramatic value to the script, with the characterization of Chezhian and his dudeism. That said, the acting and the dialogues in these areas are pathetic - the dudes are not cool and the dialogues are very artificial. The dudes could only manage constipated looks on their faces, trying to project themselves as ultramodern studs. 

Easan, in the first half, exhibits a lot of promise, picking up a lot of engrossing stuff on it's way - business lobbying, corporatisation of politics, politicization of business, the night life in Chennai, a helpless and desperate policeman etc but when it all boiled down to an individual vendetta in the second half, you just feel a bit let down. Many a scenes hang in the air when you try to sync the first and second halves of the narration - especially, the Vijay Mallya stunt. Still, the aspiration itself, to depict the nexus between business and politics, is very much valid and appreciable. A couple of interesting diaogues were floated upon, during the conversations between Deivanayagam, the politician and Shivaraj, the businessman.

Abhinaya - being a handicapped woman, there has been (or will be) an intentional bias with which Abhinaya's performances has been (or will be) approached, which kinda makes sense. There will always be a "constant of integration" summed up with her personality while evaluating her performances. She plays a mute girl who becomes a rape victim in the movie. There is always a serenity and gloominess in her face even during the "happy-family" sequences. There is a fundamental dynamics based on which the anti-hero/villain & victim characterizations are constructed in movies - the differentiation in characterizations - they will be portrayed as completely alternate psyche's. The victim, who is a woman almost all the time, will be an embodiment of good virtues and will be associated as somebody who is pure, divine and beautiful.  The anti-hero/villain will be presented with a sharp contrast with the former - with an unconventional/ awkward face, stern/rough voice, drinker/womaniser etc. To put it simple, the victim is 100% good and the offender is 100% bad. This is very important so as to invoke an intrinsic sympathy from the audience and to justify the hero's final combat with the villain. The victim's character need to be very strong to reinforce this and the quintessential examples of this phenomenon are Sridevi in "Sigappu Rojakkal" and "Moondru Mudichu", Ashwini in Uthiripookkal, Shobana in Mahanadhi etc. Abhinaya's character in Easan is one such portrayal.

There is an age-old sacred rule in tamil cinema - with respect to the physical assault on the female protagonist or any female character for that matter - Any degree of verbal or physical   aggression on the rapist is simply justified by itself. In a patriarchal society, where all the socio-economic powers are vested with the men, men intentionally attached a "larger-than-life" importance and sanctity to the virginity of a woman. It not only helped men confine women within the houses but also let men free of these rules. Easan is the latest entrant reinforcing this social psyche - all those horrendous flesh-mashing by Easan on Chezhiyan is justified by itself.

That Sasikumar is severely critical of the pub and discotheque culture is evident at many places in the film. During the first half, the camera spins into a pub every tenth minute and it's a kind of condescending outlook that Sasikumar stamps on the western way of life and the modern youth. DJ, drugs, lust, moral degradation is all he portrays. Contrastingly, in a true Mahanadhi style, he shows how the life in a village is so calm, peaceful and satisfying in a flashback narrative. And, the "Nattar theivangal" are to be seen extensively in tamil cinema these days. It provides ample scope for detailing in a village atmosphere for the film makers. Vamsam did a whole lot of it recently and Easan budgets a good deal of time for the same.

The film also reinforces the healthy chemistry between Samuthirakani and Sasikumar. Still, what Easan lacks, for me, is that clarity in narration and good performances. For atleast the first half of the film, you keep yourself engaged in trying to identify the direction of the drama - you simply can't single out a protagonist-antagonist pair. Though its not mandatory to have the same, it has been the way our cinema has worked all these years and on the negative side, it will only diminish the curiosity that the audience has on the narration. You follow the engrossing drama on-screen and realise that Chezhian is a dude, Sangaiyah is the frustrated but helpless policeman, Reshma is a good looking babe, Deivanayagam is a kingmaker politician etc. But, that "so-what, what-next" feeling lingers. 

Sasikumar commands a good fan following for himself which itself is a healthy trend - fans for a film director sounds good .. right ?. Of late, he is being viewed as the Midas of the tamil filmdom - all his previous ventures - as director, producer and actor are all stupendous successes both commercially and critically. Easan would be a tiny speed-bump on his otherwise illustrious career so far. 

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