Why do some people get everything when others don’t? It is a question that Yamuna (Nayanthara) asks herself in the film. “God created men. But where did he go then? Was he sleeping?” she adds. Airaa, KM Sarjun’s latest, argues that life is a gigantic malfunctioning Rube Goldberg Machine of which we are parts. (The opening credits has an animated version in the background). It argues that mostly, we don’t understand why we get hit; we just deal with the after-effects. Airaa follows one such thread that links Yamuna, who seems to have it all, with Bhavani (a darker Nayanthara) who loses everything.
KM Sarjun’s rise to fame is a unique story. He’s a filmmaker who commanded fan-following even before the release of his first feature film. Pegged as a feminist filmmaker on account of his short films, Maa and Lakshmi, he is now back into the limelight with another woman-centric film, but this time, featuring a star, Nayanthara. His Airaa will also be the first film to feature her in dual roles. In this freewheeling chat, Sarjun opens up about the feminist filmmaker tag, working with Nayanthara, and what it’s like to work with a female co-writer.
As a child, KS Sundaramurthy used to enjoy watching people play the tabla. “My interest in music began then. I then started learning the keyboard,” begins the young composer who has got himself a big-ticket release with Nayanthara’s Airaa.
His love for cinema seems to run in the family. “My father is a designer. Since Vikram he has been the title and poster designer for Kamal Haasan sir”. He has also worked with Mani Ratnam for Thalapathi and Anjali,” he says. Saturday nights at the Sundaramurthy residence were reserved for films, especially those by K Balachander and Visu. “My love for cine music and re-recording grew. I was learning all sorts of things — piano, Hindustani, sound engineering.” Music, he believes, comes from within.
There was one common factor that I liked about Sarjun KM’s incredibly popular short films Lakshmi and Maa. More than the unconventional themes he had handled, it was the depth that he had provided to his characters that had grabbed my attention. Lakshmi was about an unhappy wife who chooses reality after a night of indulgence. In Maa, a short about teenage pregnancy, the moment of context was when the mother sends her daughter to hockey practice after the abortion. Both these choices reveal volumes about the women who make them. I was looking for similar depth in Echcharikkai – Idhu Manidhargal Nadamaadum Idam and sadly, didn’t find. Continue reading “Echcharikkai movie review: A kidnapping tale that fails to scratch beyond the surface”
He might have completed his feature film ‘Echarikai idhu manithargal nadamadum idam’ first, but ‘Lakshmi’ was KM Sarjun’s ticket to spotlight. The short film became the cynosure of controversy but Sarjun also garnered attention and accolades for his craft. And with Maa, the verdict was more unanimous. ‘Maa’ also lead him to bag his next film with Lady Superstar Nayanthara. With just two short films, KM Sarjun has already become a name to watch out for. In conversation with indianexpress.com, the director talks about controversies, Echarikai (which he assures me is not even remotely close to ‘Taken’), Mani Ratnam, AR Murugadoss and more. Continue reading “All I want is to tell stories irrespective of the format and platform: Lakshmi, Maa fame KM Sarjun”
When I was called for a special screening of KM Sarjun’s next short film Maa, I knew there would be something to write about. Forget the name he has earned through his controversial short-film Lakshmi. There was subtlety in Sarjun’s writing that made me look forward to watching Maa. And, I wasn’t disappointed. A film on a sensitive subject, Maa definitely gives us lots of material to introspect and contemplate. Continue reading “Maa short film review: Like it or not, KM Sarjun’s film needs to be watched”
The first few minutes of Lakshmi is drained out of colours, just like the life of its lead character. We see the eponymous Lakshmi (an effective Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli) go about her day. The monotony sets in; even more so as her husband rolls on top of her every night without a second glance at her. There is also a hint that the husband might be involved with another woman. Hues starts to colour Lakshmi’s life as she meets an attractive man on the train. She finds herself smiling involuntarily, indulging in the guilty joy that unsolicited attention provides. Until a bandh drives their paths closer. Charmed by the man, Lakshmi ends up in his house and eventually in his bed. Continue reading “Lakshmi short film review: Why we need to re-think about how we see women on screen”