Arguably the most common accusation a film gets from everyone who consumes cinema, clichés are considered to be an abomination in films. However, as Khaled Hosseini puts it in his book Kite Runner, clichés are also ‘dead-on’. Talking about avoiding clichés in creative writing, he writes, “the aptness of the clichéd saying is overshadowed by the nature of the saying as a cliché.” In fact, to prove his point, he goes on to use a few cliched phrases in the next few lines with brimming charm. Continue reading “Vada Chennai, 96, Badhaai Ho and A Star is Born — Are clichés always bad?”
Govind Vasantha still comes to press meets on his Unicorn bike. Praise for his music for 96 has been lavish, but life hasn’t changed much for the violinist-composer. “I am sure that it won’t as well,” says Govind. On 96’s album, he says he knew even before the shoot that music would be an integral part of the film. “We knew it would not exactly be like a musical but that the emotions would be conveyed through music,” he says. Govind is thankful that he got the necessary freedom both off-screen and on-screen to make music. “Both Prem (Kumar) and the editor Govindaraj knew what they wanted. If you look at it, even the shots and edits are relaxed. I was given the time to build up my score and transcend. That’s rare.” Continue reading “I hardly do happy music: Govind Vasantha”
Karthik Netha realised that he wanted to be a lyricist when he was in Class 10. Kanne Kalaimane from Moondram Pirai, he says, used to keep haunting him. “Songs were a constant companion through my happiness and sorrow. They made me feel like someone was listening to my own thoughts. They were my thani perum thunai,” says the lyricist, who is currently receiving praise from all quarters for his work in 96. Continue reading “Na Muthukumar wanted me to occupy his space: Karthik Netha”
Marooned by the 2015 floods, Prem Kumar just had with him one notebook to ideate and write the script of 96. He had missed his school reunion due to work, but the stories he heard from the meet gave him an idea for a script. The rains had just started as he began to sketch his story and soon, it was chaos. “I couldn’t have got myself more paper, had I needed it. There was no power, and once the candles ran out, I used my mom’s kuthuvilaku for light,” he says. He could only write at night, as the mornings were devoted to fetching basic supplies. “And it turned out to be a story that unfolds in one night,” adds Prem with a smile. Continue reading “Vijay Sethupathi suggested that I direct 96: Prem Kumar”
I finally watched #96 and I am not going to talk about the exquisite mood piece that it is, beautifully performed with enchanting music and cinematography. Rather, I want to talk about how Jaanu behaves; how her behaviour is a reflection of how we deal with bittersweet memories from the yore.
Sometime back, I read a short story where the author had described memories taking form of boxes that are safely lodged outside the shelves of our brains. Situations serve us a box, covered in fine dust, from time to time; least when we expect it.
What do we do then? We dust it off, open the box and relive the moments. Remember the warm moment and bask in the mellow glow of nostalgia. Follow the waves of emotion that tease us, push us back and pull us forward, and leaves us at the shore of ‘what-ifs’. What if things had ended differently, where would I be now? Whom would I be with? The indulgence begins. At some point, we are forced back to reality, where we draw parallels to reassure our bruised souls. ‘I haven’t ended up in a very bad situation now, have I?’; ‘I’m still doing okay.’ When these boxes get too close for comfort, you shut it out. Close your eyes and leave, before you get pulled in beyond the point of sanity. Over the time, the box gets additions — newer information. We tuck them away again until something else, or someone else brings it out and hands it to us.
Jaanu for me was a personification of a memory that one can never forget. Her entry is, similarly, unexpected. She sweeps Ram back into the past, placing him in the corridors of their memories. There’s reluctance, nostalgia, questioning, indulging in what-ifs, struggle with adieu and finally, addition of newer colours to the has-been.