Sunday, December 19, 2010

A looking glass on the urban milieu

Bharatiraja’s Sighappu Rojakkal (Red Rose in Hindi), starring Kamal Haasan and Sridevi in the lead, is primarily remembered for its urban setting, as it was then a refreshing change from the rural background in his earlier movies, 16 Vayadhinile and Kizhakke Pogum Rayil. The wheel has now come a full circle with director Sasikumar (whose first film, the critically-acclaimed Subramaniapuram, was ensconced in rustic Tamil Nadu) adopting Chennai as the canvas for his latest offering, Easan, a movie that begins as a love story and slowly morphs into an thriller.
Wealth or an urban background in a typical Indian movie has and continues to be strongly associated with evil and loose morals. A rich person in a typical Indian film is either the villain or at least has shades of evil, while the poor are, invariably, epitomes of virtue. Easan, unfortunately, not only wears such stereotypes on its sleeve, but also champions for it. However, the director ensures that he has an effective and a convincing explanation for the same with his portrayal of seedy discotheques and pubs and women of the city.
Another striking feature about the movie is that it does not rest on the shoulders of a selected few cast members. We have Cheliyan (Vaibhav) (whose character is a far cry from that in Goa, his earlier outing), his corrupt politician father Deivanayagam (A L Alagappan), and Sangaiah (Samudrakani), the Assistant Commissioner, in a meaty role. Characters flit in and out as the movie undergoes its twists and turns. It is to Sasikumar’s credit that such characters are well defined and not there as mere time-fillers. Watch
out for the character of Shivraj Hegde (a Vijay Mallya look-alike).
James Vasanthan’s music score fails to evoke any pleasant memories, as it did with Kangal Irendal from Subramaniapuram.