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So heres a little backstory before we get down to the main act.
Some years back, I happened to be in Chennai, hoping to luck into fresh young voices in Tamil cinema, when I heard about Aaranya Kaandam, from its beleaguered producer SPB Charan, who was having a torrid time getting it past the CBFC.
I asked to see it; he had a subtitled DVD copy readied overnight and passed it on to me. Wait, thats a much too bland recounting of what transpired. I was headed to the airport, and as planned, Charan intercepted my car, rolled down his window just as I rolled down mine, handed the DVD over, and we whizzed off in different directions.
Thinking back on it — that little exchange which would have appeared to a bystander like a furtive transfer of some secret files — always makes me smile. It felt like a fitting prelude to discovering the rumbustious, raucous cinematic universe of Thiagarajan Kumararaja which thrummed, as I soon discovered, with subplots and parallel threads and tangled skeins, to come together for a rousing finale.
Aaranya Kaandam, starring an unlikely cast of Jackie Shroff, Sampath Raj, Ravi Krishna, Yasmin Ponnappa, is a blow-your-socks-off twisty, trippy, ferociously funny tale about impotent crime bosses, hoods who gab like they are in a Tarantino flick, a father and son lost in a maze of greed and stolen cash, a moll with oodles of moxie, and a bunch of colourful characters who cuss and chase each other non-stop, leading towards a jaw-dropping climax.
Super Deluxe, Kumararajas sophomore act, which comes eight years after, is a fitting follow-up. It is both similar and different. It has the same disparate threads-plotting pattern; the characters are as messed up and messy. But while it feels as pulsatingly lived-in, Super Deluxes mayhem has more heft, more depth. It is less interested in calling attention to its showiness. It is much more engaged in charting a growing-up process, more willing to grapple with complexity, and meaning. Its a 2.0 step up from the debut, in both concept and craft.
More than anything else, and this is what makes it so remarkable for a mainstream film, Super Deluxe is dazzlingly, unapologetically feminist. It takes graven-in-stone notions of male and female roles and flips them comprehensively on their head. It dissects, with a cleavers edge, hidebound binaries with characters who are gender-and-space fluid.
Super Deluxe shows that you can be more than just one or the other. It opens up possibilities. It is sometimes a bit too talky while doing so, but I will take it, thank you very much.
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There are several provocative fronts that the film opens up, including one which questions, somewhat patchily, religion and beliefs. But the most affecting one belongs to a broken family unit which heals through the wisdom of a young child named Raasukutty. The actor playing this little boy is minus all affection, and is, therefore, affecting: as he waits for his long-gone father to return, along with his near-silent mother and other family members and nosy neighbours, he is faced with a figure he did not expect. How Raasukutty (and the boys mother) comes to Read More – Source