Wednesday, December 07, 2016

I obey...

What makes a person obey someone?

The recent events in Chennai when we paid our last respects to the Chief Minister are fresh on all our minds.  The fact that the much feared violence and riots did not happen made me wonder if the riots of earlier were not the real expressions of grief no matter how incongruous it may seem to others. It also leads to a sneaky doubt that there was no requirement to give an order for these kind of actions. At this moment I wonder when we vilify a leader we find that many of the actions attributed to him or her are actually done by the followers. For instance Adolf Hitler;  we demonize him and accuse him of killing countless Jews in the Second World War but the persons who actually committed the acts were normal human beings like you and I. The use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima & Nagasaki was not an act of terror because it was done by the victors; even though it may have been sanctioned by the US President there was a long chain of command which obeyed this single act of mass destruction and ended with one pilot who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. Everybody simply obey the order.

When a ruler asks his people to wage war or kill his neighbour, ordinary people accept and obey. Why do we do that? Why does the need to obey supersede the need to do what is right? Why do we let our individual conscience become submissive to an outside call? Fundamentally what is about humans that they tend to obey a person at a higher level? Hitler would not have been Hitler if the people below him refused to accept his orders. Great warrior kings have been written about in history books but in reality they were successful due to the armies of foot soldiers who fought on their behalf following commands. The personal ideals and ideologies of the foot soldiers ceased to exist when confronted with an order. Can it be simple adulation for the leader or is fear of punishment or is it something deeper? The much feared Black Tigers, the suicide squad of the LTTE was known for their suicidal attacks ordered by their leader, young men and women gave up their lives for their leader or the cause.

One reason I can think of is our upbringing. From infancy children are taught to obey to listen to the elders and somehow the conditioning is restricted to doing what is being told rather than doing what is right. As the children grow they never forget that they must obey to the next person who is bigger than them. Have we denied our children and ourselves the right to question and decide if what has been told them is the right thing to do? Have we accepted that there is always someone bigger who will tell what is to be done and we will keep obeying? Have we accepted that life is all about obeying what has been told us?

I wonder…

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Andavan Kattalai - my views on the movie

Went for a movie after some time. I am very selective of the movies I watch. I watch a movie where I can relax, suspend reality, have a good time, laugh a lot & forget the movie in a few days. I would like to watch Micheal Madan Kama Rajan over Nayagan any day so even I sound brain dead it is my personal choice.

Despite a title that gives you different ideas Andavan Kattalai is a simple film that would have worked well with any name and maybe it was the Director cocking a snook at conventional naming tradition.

There was a worrying disclaimer at the start and the titles itself reminded you of an old 70's/80's movie, after the initial doubts you settle down.

I was pleasantly surprised by the rapturous welcome for the hero Vijay Sethupathi who is now a confirmed, bankable star. The surprise increased when the audience hooted in delight for the name of Ritika Singh, apparently her debut movie has left a mark.

When you watch this movie you need to be alert unlike other masala movie where you can join anytime & still miss little. Here the wonderful writing has some delectable jokes thrown around & subtle references which can be easily missed. It is not the loud slapstick comedy that Tamil cinema is used to but light cerebral comedy where the dialogues shine.

There are so many characters who shine, but for me the junior lawyer Vinodhini & the main policeman stood out. Ritika Singh does a neat job and you can overlook the lip sync misses because she has put in the effort to gel and she shines when she does not speak. The conflict of emotions in the romantic scene & the flick of a tear were beautifully conceived & executed.

Vijay Sethupathi is a star & while the movie is hardly a challenge, that few seconds when he plays a king make you appreciate the actor in him. I suspect that line was written just for him to stretch himself a bit. You may leave the theatre with memories of the performances by the support cast starting from Yogi Babu. His final line in the movie cracked me up as it was least expected at that moment and that is how the movie delivers, making you laugh when you least expect to. The character of Nesan is hard hitting and tugs at the heart.

The movie was made to convey a simple message and it does that without being preachy. The director has made people smile at the despondency of the characters. The climax is expected but does not leave the viewer disappointed. The scene where the hero realises that it costs only 1300 to right a mistake the lesson is deeply planted in the viewers' minds.

The music by K is unobtrusive & unremarkable. The movie had no need for speed breaking songs and the background music was in the background. The subtle references made a mark with the audience & the scene where the hero berates his landlord brought many cheers in the theatre.

Go and watch the movie if you want to have fun. Be warned it will not be a masala movie with 4 songs, 3 fights, a scheming villain etc. There is a villain but you would not realize that he is one.