Vada Chennai- A fable of Karma,destiny, cause and effect

My face was gleaming with that radiance as I was walking out of Vada Chennai, which usually comes at the end of an overwhelming piece of cinema. It was delicious. I hadn’t felt this content in a while at the cinemas. On the way back, as the high had subsided, I was musing on the myriad blood dripping episodes, over and over again. There was just one underlying thread, one direction all the chaos condensed towards; an overarching motif- Karma. Suddenly the tea bag I had appropriated from the office pantry seemed like a bad idea.

To me, Karma has always been this Utopian watchdog fantasy propogated by a bunch of altruists to keep anarchy at bay. Do good, you’ll be done good. Fuck up, Karma will chase you like a rabied dog to bite you back. This LHS equals RHS— sooner or later —symetry of dividend accruing over deeds seemed too mythological for my vision, that’s been trained in the commonplace of “nows” and “hows”. But Vada Chennai got me pondering, what with the history repeating with the unhurried fuss of shifting tectonic plates. Every event not only has a cause and effect, but with time goes on to cause and effect something or someone else. Like a grand betrayal of a bunch of cohortst that ebbs into a gory murder. None of them, aware enough about what they’ve set to motion. All of them do go on to graze greener pastures at the other end of this severe moral compromise, but not at the price they had set aside. Each of them gets earmarked, sized up from the moment they betrayed; swung their knives. The backstabber begets a backstabber, both literally and figuratively. A casual stabber casually gets stabbed back in time. The once underdog opposers of the establishment eventually go on to become one, to only find themselves opposed, again by an underdog. Every happening in the present, seems to be an echo from the past. Even the seemingly insignificant domestic designs- like the timid younger brother of a numero uno or the self reference to an anchor at the end of a tussle with a cop. The stray events that seem so, at least when they occur, go on to form meticulous cogs in an unforgetting wheel. Seen in retrospect, after the storm settles, it all seems like a part of an elaborate, dense design put together by destiny ever so slowly, that we don’t really know the sea bed these sediments were coming together for.

Who knew I would end up walking out with a new found reverence for Karma after a gangster flick. But that’s what god cinema does, it surprises you in ways you can’t imagine. It lends fresh perspective to predispositions. It becomes cathartic. And what better way to learn life, than as a mute witness to the life of others.  Thank you Vetrimaaran for sharing this epic tale of love, betrayal, revenge and self discovery, Karma feels like a fathomable poetic justice, not the alien eastern promise it used to be.

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Roast of Aravindha Sametha Veera Raghava

After seeing Aravindha Sametha Veera Raghava, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the thought train that would’ve inundated Trivikram’s head and the kind of discussions that would’ve gone into the story discussion.

Cast a Shruti Haasan prototype, but with a nice tan and give her a masculine name……Aravindha! Tick
Next…let’s cast a erstwhile comedian who’s grown like a tree and give him a rather feminine name……Neelambari.Tick
Wow…that’s some severe blend of novelty and irony there. The catharsis has begun, Agnyaathavasi is a distant nightmare……I hope.
Now what about the title, it needs to empower the fairer sex and the tiger fans,all at once, while sounding mythical and cool.
Aravindha met Veera?….that’s like Harry met Sally, plagiarism is a subtle art, plus this movie involves thigh pounding fascists and that’s too urban sounding.

Hears Radha Sametha Krishna playing on the radio, across the balcony where the story development is taking place.

Yes. Yes. Got the title. Aravindha Sametha Veera Raghava. And we let a VFX dove flap its wings to make the title appear. Masterpiece. My pen hasn’t hit menopause.

A bunch of ADs enter the room.

“I’ve always cast ailing/wheelchair bound patriarchs in my movies. But that’s changed. This one’s different. I need a matriarchal presence in this fascistic chaos. How would that woman, who played a similar part in Ramleela be?
“How about Ramya Krishna guruji, she’s a solid actress and knows the language too”, an AD faintly chips in from a corner.
“It might be a Telugu movie. It might be peppered with chaste telugu words and analogies throughout its run time. But what’s an epic without irony. And what better irony than casting Bollywood A-listers with not the slightest inkling of what they’re speaking, as an emotional dubbing artist slogs in tandem to them chewing gum. It worked with Mukesh Rishi, Boman Irani, Paresh Rawal and I don’t see why it should be any different with Supriya Pathak ?”

“Now that’s sorted. How do the titular character meet? Meet-cute or we make the nature conspire their bonding in a rather, dramatic fashion?”
“Casually guruji, like a few run-ins, probably a common friend, conversations and eventually they fall for each other like regular people.”, AD sipping on green tea.

“We don’t have time for all that. She runs from goons. Young tiger rescues her obviously. And she makes him smile, so he decides to move in with her family because he likes that.”
“WT…..Wow”, AD’s spilt his green tea in disbelief, while falling off his bean bag.

“And remember Sunil’s track from Jalsa, were he keeps misunderstanding his doctor’s advice over phone. Same way, this Aravindha chick keeps saying random crap, but it ends up giving young tiger life altering epiphanies. To make matters interesting, she’s an anthropologist doing research on fascism. Her laptop’s got some cool evolution art on its rear to add credence to this claim. And through all this, she doesn’t know she’s housing a fascist scion at home. Wow, I’m on fire.”

The ADs slow clap, as the din of falling standards fill up the air conditioned room.

“Ok guruji, now that young tiger’s in the city, how do the enemies come to know of his whereabouts?”, an AD quizzes.
“Destiny operates in mysterious ways.”, Trivikram giggles.
“Guruji!?”
“Heroine’s brother has got a story telling competition at school and our hero tells his own tragic story with pseudonyms instead. The kid wins the contest. The published story reaches the villain. He unleashes his unbathed cabal of hooligans on the poor kid.And we have a path-breaking action block in the kid’s school corridors.”

“Interval. Let’s break for lunch.”

“Heat of the summer on my neck…..chirping of the birds above.”
“Guruji?”
“He came at me with the speed of a cheetah……truth is like the murmur of the earthworm….cool of the moon kissed night sky”
“Guruji, where you going with this?”
“I need these lines to come in the movie.”
“Guruji, but this is 2018 and we’re making a contemporary movie, people don’t speak this way and it’ll look odd.”
“Ask Tarak to make a morose, semi-constipated face and look towards the camera empathetically while doling out these lines, it will add gravitas. They’ve seen the tiger roar, not wax metaphorically. It’s a Trivikram celluloid after all.”

“Where do we use the Peniviti song, there’s no place for it?”, AD bites his tongue tip.
“I’m glad you asked. We show the relationship with his mother and how home sick he’s become through montages and subtle choreography.”
“Guruji, but the only conversation he’s had with his mother through the movie running time is a goodbye without eye contact.”
“Emotions needn’t be shown, they have to be felt. And more importantly, that’s the job of a chartbuster song with emotional lyrics, right?”
“Yes guruji.” AD feels numb as he can hear his brain cells crack up.

Agnyaathavaasi was an one off. This one’s a winner. I’ve reinvented the wheel. In fact I’m the wheel. And my pen can squirt ink.

“Script locked. Let’s go for shoot.”

“Jai Mahishmathi!”, ADs implode with a straight face.