Updated: May 23, 2020
Romance and/or Love are two words that have been often used interchangeably - whether it is right or wrong, I am not one to judge - in the cinema industry. More so in Indian cinema. There are love stories and there are stories about love. We also have a huge line up of romedies, tragedies, happy-ending stories and so on.
The film that we are going to explore in this post is Silukarupatti (2019). In Baradwaj Rangan's (One of the best film critics of our time) website FilmCompanionSouth.com, this is one of the best movies of the last decade. I concur.
I believe this movie is one of those rare films that capture moments and emotions as they are. Rarely does one come across a movie - rarer so for an anthology of stories - where emotions are not exaggerated with long close ups or the hysteria of the villain. Guess what, there is no villain in any of these stories! Intriguing isn't it? Especially for an anthology of stories about love (or love stories) this is a rarity! What more, the lack of villains doesn't affect the movie one bit. Kudos to the brilliant writing and its apt and near perfect screenplay.
The film is an anthology of four stories viz. Pink Bag, Kaka Kadi, Turtles and Hey Amu! All of these are connected - which makes me question why it is called an anthology - through humans, birds, objects and events. However, what makes it a warm watch is the way each of the stories begins, end and goes to the next one. There is no abruptness in the end, at the same time, there is no point where you wish the story ends already. Thus, it is cohesive, crisp and engaging at the same time. The film doesn't boast a stellar cast (barring the known faces of the accomplished Samuthirakani, the talented Sunaina and the ever beautiful Leela Samson). Which exactly makes one ask why is there too much reliance on the stardom of actors, despite content truly being the king? Notable performers are Rahul (Manja in Pink Bag), Manikandan and Nivedhitaa Sathish (Mugilan and Madhu respectively in Kaka Kadi) and Sunaina (Amudhini in Hey Amu!).
The thin strand of connectivity through, birds, objects (ring to be specific) and events (turtle walk) works well for the movie as it is not forced and could very well happen in real life. The editing, which I believe is even more difficult for an anthology, is remarkable and flows with the film. Halitha Shameem has done a wonderful job in this aspect too, besides the writing and direction.
Another important aspect of the film is the dialogues. The dialogues are not dramatic. Instead, they are just a slice of life. By being, funny and sharp the lines stay in the heart. At the same time, the dialogues simplify the world for us and ask us to just be. Take the dialogue by the unsatisfied housewife in Hey Ammu where she says "My life is all about finding the sweet 21 between 18 and 24 right?" or the reference to the underarm in Pink Bag which essentially means "All are one".
On a whole, Silukarupatti redefines the way romance and/or love is looked at in cinema and offers a real yet not a disturbing glimpse at the same.
The movie is available in Netflix.
Gratitude: FilmCompanionSouth and Baradwaj Rangan.