Sunday, February 18, 2007

Swathi Muthyam --- Oka Aaani Muthyam

Swathi Muthyam --- Oka Aaani Muthyam
Jun 6, 2006, 04:57

Disclaimer.. I can only offer a tribute to this wonderfully crafted masterpiece. When you are dumbfounded by the mere excellence of a great worksman, redundancy is sure to creep in and this being my first post, I would request and expect some lenience from the generous readers.

Kasinadhuni Viswanath, popularly known as K.Viswanath(KV) is one of the rarest phenomena to have happened to our an otherwise, unoriginal, inspid, grossly commercial, film industry. KV's tendency for picking up the most unconventional of themes, defying the crass, commercial realities, is by itself a laudable quality. I am always amazed by the conviction that he carries in his story and, the screenplay is an absolute reflection of the clarity of his thought. There have been , are , and will be great directors, who blaze their trail for others to follow. All of them carry a common passion for which they live and are willing to die. The director that comes closest to Viswanath's style of taking,in the present crop, is Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I digress!!

As much as I praise KV for his artistic brilliance, there is another interesting piece to the puzzle. There are a very few times in a regular actor's life, when he gets to enact the role of his life. And actors like Kamal Hassan,Amir Khan thrive on such opportunities, to extract the best of their faculties. For them, each role is a work of art.There is absolutely no scope for mediocrity. It never occurs to me that Kamal/Amir are actors. They get into the skin of the character so much so that they almost, always end up living the role on screen.

The magic of Ilayaraja and the prowess of KV was completely overshadowed by the histrionic excellence of Kamal. The characterization of Kamal deserves special mention. On the face of it, it looks pretty simple. All he has to do is behave like a 10 yr old, a naive 10 yr old at that . But, you can appreciate his talent only when you see him display the subtle nuances. Usually, we all talk about the chemistry between the lead pair. Thats a foregone conclusion in this movie. What is more amazing, though, is the magic that Kamal shares with KV. KV always manages to get the best out of Kamal, be it Saagara Sangamam(aaah..we will definitely discuss this some other time, for sure) or Subha Sankalpam.

For some movies, music is a part of the movie. For KV's movies, music is the whole and soul of the movie. KV displays his flair (as always!!) for the right kind of music. And, no wonder, Ilayaraja delivers it with a bang. While Sagara Sangamam needed classical touch to the music, the theme of Swathi Mutyam demanded a folk touch. One song, that needs particular mention and stands as a flagship product from the KV brand , is "Rama Kanavemira". This song is a judicious fusion of four different traditions(prakriyas) of music. It only takes the calibre of an Ilayaraja to mix Harikatha, Chekka Bhajana, Kolatam and light music, to create soulful, situational music. I never get bored of playing this song in my car, forever.

The theme of the the movie is based on how a naive, child-like person, emerges unscathed in a dog-eat-dog world, managing to uplift the lives of some troubled souls, on his way. Swathi Muthyam, like most of KV's other movies, is a social commentary. He reflects on the societial maladies like the bane of widowhood, the trachereous nature of people around us, etc which narrating the theme. Also, there is an underlying reflection of goodwill still left in the society, depicted skillfully through the characters of the dhobi , Nirmalamma,Radhika,etc. The character enacted by Radhika needs a special mention. She holds her own in this illustrious company of the (soon-to-be) legends. She is successful in emoting the life of a helpless widow, who having a lot of self esteem, still longs to fill the void in her life. She depicts a character, that has lost hope in life, for all the pain it inflicted on her.

Those were the days when we had women like BhanuPriya, Radhika, Jayasudha, Sridevi who could match the hero in all the frames. Occasionally, we all yearn for a strong female character that could provide the much needed balance. And, then I realize, its only wishful thinking, in contemporary cinema, to make a wish on those lines, except for a few flashes from someone like a Kamalini.

All in all, a great movie, worth storing for the connoisseurs of telugucinema.

- Sridhar

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