While in India, I had the pleasure of watching at least three films in a theatre. The experience isn’t vastly different from watching it in London, to be honest. Same level of enthu in the crowd, and similar levels of cynicism. Though the amount of noise in the theatre is spectacular. People constantly chattering on their phones, to the person sitting next to them and the like. In London, I feel alright asking people to shut up, but in Gurgaon, I am half scared that the person in question will crack my skull open with their fist.
One of the films I managed to catch was Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya. I’ll be honest, when I walked out of the theatre, I was tired, a bit annoyed and just wanted to go home and sleep. Some of it has to do with the fact that the film started at about 10 45 PM, and by the time it ended I wanted to curl up in the nearest cosy corner and sleep forever.
But thinking about it now, it was a beautiful film in parts. It’s lyrical, soft, with genuinely funny moments. The story is jagged, with no smooth edges – but you don’t mind that – in fact, the film makes sense only because it never quite feels like a love story. There are barely any characters in the film other than the two main people, but they are so well etched that it doesn’t matter.
Suffice to say – it’s the story of a torrid relationship between a man (Simbu) and a woman (Trisha). Funnily enough, Trisha’s character works well because it is seen only through Simbu’s eyes. That is, there are no scenes when he’s not present, or does not have some way of knowing what happened. It’s a more mature way of dealing with multiple narratives, making it obvious that this is only one person’s view of the relationship.
You see Trisha (who is perhaps the individual who brings in confusion into the relationship) as a person who has her reasons for doing things, even if the reasons are not made apparent. She doesn’t feel like a black and white character, you feel a certain ambiguous empathy for her. Simbu on the other hand – may have finally learned not to overact in every scene. He’s fleetingly naive, optimistic but easily heartbroken.
By the way, isn’t it delightful when the heroine in a Tamil film isn’t a goddamn college student of some sort?
The last forty five minutes of the film drag on rather endlessly. It gets interesting for thirty seconds, but by then the dialogues are so long, you just want them to shut up. I don’t have an issue with films that move forward largely through dialogue, but unless they are well written, and don’t become monologues it doesn’t hold my interest.
Despite that though, it’s a lovely film with fantastic music. One of the best numbers is Aaromale.
PS – On that note, while there’s the whole film within a film angle, not much is made of it, and it’s not really used till the very end of the film.