Thursday, May 26, 2005

Shyamalan and K.S.Ravikumar

Inspite of some underlying similarities, Wide Awake was a very different kind of movie compared to Shyamalan's later movies(i.e. beginning with and after Sixth Sense). While Wide Awake was more heartfelt, emotional and overall, a feel-good movie, Shyamalan's later movies have been dark, atmospheric and sprinkled with Boo! moments. This shift in moviemaking style may hint at Shyamalan confining himself to the kind of movies he thinks the public expects from him. If he is putting a lid on his creativity and filtering the ideas that don't seem to fit in with the expectations from his movies, that would eventually be a loss to us viewers. It is in this aspect that I see something similar between Shyamalam and our own master of masala, K.S.Ravikumar.

It is hard to believe now but KSR's first film was the superlative thriller Puriyaadha Pudhir. That film still stands up to the best in the genre. It is a whodunnit where it is really difficult to guess whodunnit? and the suspense and twists are of such a high order that even the unmasking of a secondary player three quarters of the way into the movie comes as a complete surprise. It is fast-paced, with only a single, unnecessary scene of comedy and boasts of many twists and turns. KSR holds a tight rein on the screenplay and moves it along with a confidence that belies his inexperience(both behind the camera itself and in this difficult genre). He has even tried a couple of fancy techniques with the camera.

But KSR then shifted to the village milieu and tasted success with Cheran Pandiyan and since then, those kind of movies have become his trademark. He has never revisited the thriller genre and instead confined himself to lightweight comedies(Minsaara Kannaa) or sentimental movies revolving around some kind of familial relations(Naattaamai). Ofcourse these films have served him well. Apart from earning him the tag of a successful director, they have paved the way for him to work multiple times with top actors like Rajnikanth(Muthu, Padaiyappa) and Kamalhassan(Avvai Shanmughi, Tenali).

But looking back at Puriyaadha Pudhir and KSR's recent movies, its hard not to feel a twinge of regret at the thought that we might have lost a talented director at the altar of commercialism.

10 Comments:

At 2:37 AM, Anonymous Asokan said...

Never heard of PURIYAADHA PUDHIR, but I wouldn't downgrade Ravikumar's subsequent movies. Sure, PAARAI and PANCHATHANTHIRAM sucked, but MUTHU is a classic and MUTHU KULIKKA VAREENGALA is widely underrated. In comparison to most Tamil directors, Ravikumar's films most of the time WORK in their own way and are at least partly inspired (I'm thinking of MINSAARA KANNA'S ridiculously funny 'Three Stooges'-like villains).

I guess, this post will start yet another shitstorm on so-called worthy films and so-called forgettable flicks, but what the hell! Bring it on!:-)

 
At 7:14 AM, Anonymous not_so_fast said...

Puriyadha Pudhir was a frame by frame remake of a kannada movie NOT directed by KSR

 
At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

"Puriyadha Pudhir was a frame by frame remake of a kannada movie NOT directed by KSR"

Then (from Balaji's impression), at least KSR didn't screw it up by "enhancing" it :)

 
At 8:38 AM, Blogger Zero said...

I got a question. Is nt Puriyaadha Pudhir storyline so similar to Ittefaq?
Though I havent seen Ittefaq, have heard about it and found it similar to Puriyaadha Pudhir. Talking abt remakes, I am curious whether both the Kanada and Tamil versions are remade from the hindi one. No accusations on plagiarsim, guys. Just curious on the origin!

Introducing a whole new twist to the plot about Sithaara's rape (and how long does the sequence go..) being the reason for Raghuman's revenge just dint work out for me. Bad screenplay. A good screenplay attempting to jolt the viewer should give enough hints at it and still make you jolt. Like Sixth Sense!
But the movies does have lesser/no standard gimmicks of KSR.

 
At 9:08 AM, Anonymous GP said...

I dont think Ittefaq has anything to do with Puriyadha Pudhir..

I too think Puriyadha Pudhir was a good debut for KSR. He re-invented Raghuvaran with the "No no no no.." stuff.. That movie was a moderate success, probably due its low-profile actors. At that time, Sithara's rape scene was a shocker (remember her scream?).

He sort of tried a thriller in "Purusha Latchanam".. but it was famous more because of the "thaali" sentiment..

Remember that he was Vikraman's assistant.. may be he was fresh with good ideas in his first movies.. after that, to survive, he chose common themes due to commercial pressure and survival.

 
At 5:42 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

asokan, no arguments there :-) KSR's movies r definitely entertaining. my disappointment was only about the kind of movies he stuck to. if u see 'puriyaadha pudhir' u might be able to see exactly what i mean.

no_so_fast, thats defly news to me. but my disappointment still holds true i guess :)

zero, agreed. but IMO, the fact that the killer was someone who was before our eyes the whole time was in itself a good surprise.
havent seen ittefaq. so no comments :)

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger bvenkat83 said...

hey balaji, im also in california, although i live in modesto my family and i travel to the bay area on many occasions....regarding ur comment that teenager wouldnt go to a movie especially a tamil movie with their parents....i probably wouldnt go to an english movie bc my parents wouldnt enjoy it, but i love goin to tamil movies wqith them, its not like i can go to a tamil movie with any of my friends..
talk to you later,
Bharath

 
At 11:02 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

bharath, thats good to know. That comment was purely an assumption since I personally do not know any teens(Indian or otherwise) here in the US. But this is one case where I don't mind being wrong at all :-)

 
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