The week started with Priyadarshan’s Sila Samayangalil (Sometimes) and ended with Kanchivaram (2008) – both dwell in more cinematic and artistic perspectives than his usual mindless and sometimes numb OTT comedies. With these two films, he proves the innate power of cinema is still alive between the filmed comedies.
In Sila Samayangalil (2018), there is wait anxiously raging towards a silence – it almost causes agony while the film plays on irony of a situation. “Krishna had more than 16000 wives and he won’t punish you for one such discretion” says a character to another who hands him a small Krishna idol. There is irony as well as agony, Priyadarshan puts a thoughtful soul into the character building. With a typical mix of characters put into a tense situation engaged more with silence, as seven people wait for their HIV Test Report.
This engaging drama almost shot in one location captures the most aggravating human experiences with tension and irritation. Without making any obvious moves, the character are built with total mood, nuances and apt tone. Nevertheless, it’s quite aware of its motive, it’s not a drawback, just that it gets bit pretentious. But, Priyadarshan strongly lays a hand over the climax which keeps lingering more than intention. Win?
Isaignani Illayaraja and Cinematographer Sameer Thahir smoothly weave a subtle and soothing background score and characterise the story, respectively. Prakash Raj is a terrific actor who performs with his jittery and leaves us in a discomfort. Ashok Selvan, Shriya Reddy and M S Bhaskar, each of them inculcate the characters with total perfection. Notice the expressions with regard to their character behaviour, surely a knack of realism (and probably, realisation?).
This is Priyadarshan at his best, although it moves slowly, but the fact here is “it moves” – a successful experiment which might have not worked at the Box Office. Netflix is striking chord by providing interesting content.
Kanchivaram (2008) is a compelling multi-layered film which has social, cultural and political threads knitted delicately. Poignantly conveyed through Cinematographer Tirru’s frames, especially silhouettes and close-ups – the effective use of colour tone sets the reality and a periodical check.
It’s a testament to Priyadarshan’s capability to deliver a masterpiece, he emphatically weaves a tragic story (with subtle humour) of the silk weavers underlined by poverty and pathos of the bygone oppression. Much hard to believe or even digest this kind of film from him, until one is a witness to “Kanchivaram”, which even won National Award for Best Film. The citation reads, “For presenting a rare portrayal of Kanchi’s silk weaver community, and the internal struggle of a weaver caught between his ideals and personal dreams. A vibrant story and technical excellence blend to create a total cinematic experience.”
With an excellent yet underplayed performance, Prakash Raj simmers through a myriad of emotions. He captivates with just a smirk leaving you with a heavy heart. A moving tale filled with a story told amidst incessant rains bring a gloomy mood, a cinematic essence flows through the drenched paths and agony (along with irony) soaks in.
As I witnessed the film at 33,000 feet above at dawn, its impact dawned into numbness – still can’t believe it’s a Priyadarshan film – sometimes he potentially wins.
Copyright ©2018 Ninad Kulkarni. Originally published on 4th May, 2018 on Cinema Paradise’s Facebook Page. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.