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Suseendhiran’s third directorial venture “Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai” is an experiment that displays a no-holds-barred attitude and oozes with confidence, riding on the credentials of a popular short story penned by Bhaskar Sakthi, a long time ago. This film would be a marker for Suseendhiran as to indicate where he is heading with what he has imbibed in his filmmaking career so far.

While Easan would be a bad patch on Sasikumar’s progress card, Vamsam is one for Pasanga Pandiraj, is Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai the opposite? Well, Naan Mahaan Alla exposed the filmmaker as relying on content that reads too subtle to make a mark. Does Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai follow suit? Have borrowing of world cinema’s traits done any good for the Tamil film industry? Is it good to make films from novels?

While novels carry descriptions and scenarios than complete stories, movies put characters into progression and ultimate culmination. The Hollywood is either cursed or lauded depending upon how a popular bestseller novel is either skewed or screwed! Adaptation implies evolution of an idea from the paperbacks onto the celluloid. This evolution seeks a change – a transition where a few elements scrape off to accommodate certain new elements.

But if the evolution fails to undergo the transition, the incompatibility with the screens is made obvious! Suseendhiran has probably had an inspiration from Bhaskar Sakthi after reading his successful short story. He has been the dialogue writer of Suseendhiran’s two previous films. Directors of the DVD era have been subjected to an overdose of inspiration from world cinema. Although most of the world cinema movies have been sensible, a lot many of them have proven to be inadequate for the local audiences!

Filmmakers from other nations do not run a check on the amount of trouble the characters undergo but leverage the emotional quotient to subtle subliminal levels. This is misunderstood by Indian filmmakers and they fall prey to inadequacy of requisite drama. One would wish that the difference between drama and melodrama had better be understood along with all the aesthetical realms explored through world cinema DVDs!

Suseendhiran exposed his penchant for world cinema through his earlier Naan Mahaan Alla which did not have a conclusive ending but had an aesthetically conveyed one liner. The same is with Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai. Lord Azhagarsami’s Kuthirai (wooden) is suddenly lost by which time human Azhagarsami (Appukutty) also loses his horse that he depended on for both his livelihood and also for his wedding with Saranya Mohan. As the real horse comes into the sight of the village that lost its wooden horse, villagers superstitiously identify this real horse as their wooden horse.

As human Azhagarsami finds the whereabouts of his horse, it leads to a conflict between Azhagarsami and the villagers. Whether or not Azhagarsami gets his horse must be witnessed in the theaters! Suseendhiran seems to have learned part of the art with satirizing the orientations of villagers and to scrutinize what each character in the village is up to! When he deftly writes the screenplay with a priest using betel leaves to find the whereabouts of Azhagarsami’s horse, he entertains the audiences with the quirkiness of the deeds!

However, one would strongly wish that he had not fallen flat when emotions should have been stirred to the right extent. Azhagarsami getting beaten by villagers, his empathy for a widow, Saranya Mohan declaring suicide if not married to him, the twist in the climax and non-establishment of any relationships could all be typical examples of emotions that have fallen flat. These scenes do not tug at your heartstrings as opposed to how they were intended to be!

Though Ilayaraja’s background music has borne in mind that the film is set in a 80s backdrop, the tracks do have the tendency to sound generic. Theni Easwar has covered both the vast expanses of the Theni hills and the dusty soil of the village. Editing could have done better to prevent the rushed feeling of the climax. Appukutty performs what the director has instructed quite naturally, although he has been led to ham in a few places.

Saranya Mohan never quite is part of the story and there is lack of emotional build up between the two lead characters (Appukutty and Saranya) and the Ramakrishnan character played by Prabhakaran. Both the love stories do not have a strong narration to have anything deep for the audience to be concerned about. The dialogues are flat when Appukutty gets reassured by his grandmother that the girl he will marry will have a “white” skin tone!

Positives

  • Offbeat Attempt
  • Entertaining

Negatives

  • Influence of World Cinema
  • Cliché
  • Familiarity of Story, Plot and Screenplay
  • Twist in the Climax
  • Lack of Suspense

Verdict
Suseendhiran could at least have made it a thriller instead of the black and white narration of everything out in the open before the eyes. He could have kept the audience guessing at least to have them engaged. At least, he could have avoided the paperback feel the movie has throughout!

Since he does not deceive the audience, he gets deceived by what looks like a film for the festival circuits but falls short due to its being familiar along the lines of world cinema and experimentally offbeat films. Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai – ‘Simply’ Lost!

Rating: ★★½☆☆