Wednesday, June 16, 2010

IRUVAR (Tamil) (1997)

The cinema and politics remained parallel in South India; many actor turned politicians used as weapons to gain public popularity later turned into a political success story. Needless to recall names but its proven fact that silver screen is a powerful medium to win the hearts of masses; especially in South India where Tamil superstars regarded as Gods and mesmerize strong mass appeal even than the CM of the state.

The film unfolds the story of two close friends, contradictory in mindsets and ideologies; one a wannabe film actor, another leftist poet-orator driven in the world of politics. Though having separate fields their life shares parallel tracks in personal and public lives. Its true test of friendship when blinded by power one becomes quite selfish towards the other and their mutual goal. Maniratnam brought a film reflecting the life and times of friends and rivals- M G Ramchandran and Karunanidhi and made a film which becomes his master work for many reasons to ponder. The first and front most is casting Mohanlal and Prakashraj and get perhaps best of them. Both won National Awards for it if I’m not mistaking. The film has wide fair side too- Aishwarya in double roles in her debut, Gauthami, Revathi, Tabboo and even Madhu just for a song.

The film is audio-visually stunning piece of art in every technical divisions. From A R Rahman’s fine melodies ranging from semi Carnatic music to fusion to Santosh Sivan’s A grade photography to other departments like production, setting, choreography, dialogues everything is just pitch perfect. Sometimes the director gets everything so perfect and for Maniratnam this is a set paragon. In today’s west aping cinema, it’s quite rare to see the authentic portrayal of Indian women in cinema but Maniratnam is artist…watch every actress he used here so artistically and beautifully whether its Aishwarya (never seems so natural and refreshingly beautiful!!!), Revathi, Taboo Or even Madhu in a single song sequence. They all stunned you without titillating your senses.

All songs filmed so beautifully along with memorable scenes. Few which I love to watch again and again are- meeting of two friends on terrace, Wedding first night scene between Prakashraj and Revathi, Taboo’s entry in Prakashraj’s house and the touchiest soliloquy offered to beloved friend in the end. I just wonder how Mani and Sivan filmed these Indian landmark buildings and natural landscapes such a classy frames! Whether its Taj or Thirumalai Naicker Palace of Madurai which I visited so recently. In the film it works as an abstract character; a silent witness from the beginning to end of friendship journey.

Rahman’s score for this film clearly goes to his best works including two refine melodies ‘Pookodiyin Punnakai’ and ‘Narumukaiya’ are locked in his top ten compositions. As soon as the film ends the next thing I’ve done is downloading the album. Listen above said two compositions repeatedly on my ipod with closed eyes without understanding anything and felt goose bumps. Isn’t it a power of tune? What a soothing score! Here lies a true genius.

For number of reasons it’s undoubtedly Maniratnam’s finest one…not to miss on all accounts.



Vikram said...

My most favorite Mani Ratnam film till date! An epic of Monolithic proportions

Sreehari Viswanath said...

Great review hiren bhai.

My Fav tamil movie till date. On some occasions Maniratnam openly admitted that he won't do any more film with Mohanlal, since how can I direct a person whom I adore and he often forgot to say "cut" in several times..