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A Movie on Horsepower

Director Suseendiran, who marks a return to the rural milieu with Azhagarsaamiyin Kudhirai (Azhagarsami’s horse) after Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, I suspect, may have paid a silent tribute to a filmmaker who revelled in bucolic themes, Bharathiraja.

The portrayal of the rural setting in the movie (based on a short story authored by writer Bhaskar Sakthi) is largely reminiscent of that in movies such as Pathinaaru Vayathinile or Kizhakke Pogum Rayil. Two lovers when on a secret outing to the town watch, of all movies, Alaigal Oyvathillai; a village decides to conduct a temple fair in order to appease the rain god; women burst into lyrics at the snap of a finger. However, my favourite scene was where a sleeping stray dog perks up, rather expectantly, when the town crier announces the conduction of a village fair.

The wooden horse of the village deity, Azhagarsaami, goes missing on the eve of the temple fair; as if in a metaphor, a person by name Azhagarsaami (Appukutty), too, loses his horse, which strays in the village, with its residents attributing it to divine intervention. Azhagarsaami arrives at the village one day and finds his horse, only to be informed that it now belongs to the village temple. The horse was his ticket to marriage with a fair maiden (Saranya); his to-be father-in-law then tells him he would wait only till the next full-moon. What happens next is meant to be seen.

The gradual transformation in the emotions of the villagers as preparations for the temple fair get underway has been etched carefully. The director must be thanked for reminding us that love can be professed sans SMS/e-mail/chat, in what can be termed a throwback to the “good-old days” of Tamil cinema. Shades of Aamir Khan’s Lagaan (when the entire village prays for rain) are hard to miss.

With a soulful soundtrack, Ilayaraja proves that age has still not robbed him of his talent. You feel it the moment when you listen to the track that accompanies the title credits, which does not carry details about the cast.

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