Movies aren’t reality but they are from reality. That’s what Vasanthabalan has conveyed in his new film. Very similar to the films of Madhur Bhadarkar in Hindi Vasanthabalan too has gone onto the details of a social problem while trying to tell story at the same time.
Ayngaran International Films ‘Angadi Theru’ is a disturbing love story told in the back drop of serious life.
It about the sordid life forced upon two youngsters from a remote south Tamil Nadu village who are brought to Chennai city to work as counter sales people in swanky textile malls of Ranganathan Street and exploited by their employers. Mahesh who is a plus two topper is forced by the circumstances to take up a sales man job in a mall in Chennai. Anjali is also employed at the same shop. The jobs are low paying and they live in inhuman conditions provided by their exploiting mall owners. Amidst the conditions they fall in love which irks the mean management and they fight it out. The exploiting conditions in the mall don’t give way to peaceful existence and the try to start a new life out of the mall but end up ordinarily. While telling the story of lovers, Vasanthabalan also unveils the pathetic life conditions of poor young people from remote villages who are brought to city in promise of good job and then exploited by the poor blood sucking management.
The film is hard hitting in its reality. Life seems very tame at times. Many things happening in this film are things that are happening to us or around us but we hardly seem to notice or empathise. The graphic description of the life of the forced laborers strikes you hard. Next time if you go shopping to the posh malls in Ranganathan Street or around T. Nagar please pause and take a deep look at the uniformed counter sales people and give him or her considerate smile. Like his earlier ‘Veyil’ Vasanthabalan here too seems to tell us the world outside is a real bad world and survival is difficult for the good and able.
‘Angadi Theru’ is exquisitely simple and is a sonnet to the sprit of survival. For thoughtful filmgoers ‘Angadi Theru’ is a beautifully contained film complete in its portrayal of a young pair in search of life.
The performances of the leading characters are assets to the film. New comer Mahesh and ‘Kattrathu Thamizh’ Anjali are simply superb and they virtually carry the film on behalf of Vasanthabalan. The director also proved his choice of actors is on target. If the industry doesn’t use the potential of Anjali fully after this film then that would be a loss to Tamil cinema. Director A. Venkatesh as the mall supervisor and Black Pandi of ‘Kanakanum Kalangal’ as the friend of Mahesh are the only other significant characters and they too are fine.
Music by G V Prakash and Vijay Antony evokes a mixed feeling. The songs are good but they are neither in the film nor with the film. Vijay Antony’s ‘Aval Appadi Ondrum Azhagillai’ which is already a chart buster looks reclaimed on screen. But Vijay Antony’s back ground score is marvelous. The BGM travels as a separate character throughout the film. It makes you cry when the characters cry and laugh when they laugh.
The debutant Cinematographer Richard Maria Nathan walks hand in hand with Vasanthabalan. Right from the opening scene of rain drenched lanes of T. Nagar till the dry crowded Ranganathan Street providing asylum to the central characters at the end Richard cools your eyes meaningfully. Welcome Richard! Well Done!!
Vasanthabalan’s screenplay is as uncluttered and faithful as his lead characters. But he could have told his dialogue writer to refrain from adding that Tirunelveli slang ‘lei… lei’ to each and every utterance. The 150 minutes could have been trimmed a bit. The story of Anjali’s younger sister, and the song sequence inside the shop at night and particularly the scenes of Sneha could have been done away with. They don’t do anything to enhance the narration.
‘Angadi Theru’ may not be a turning point in the history of Tamil cinema, but a film worth archiving for future. Vasanthabalan’s third feature film is modest and quiet a study on loneliness and surviving spirit.