Director: M Manikandan
Solid: Vijay Sethupathi
Manikandan has made a number of movies we’ve loved—like Kaaka Muttai and particularly Aandavan Kattalai. However the Manikandan who has made Kadaisi Vivasayi is just not that man,he isn’t that mainstream filmmaker. This isn’t to say Kadaisi Vivasayi is just not a mainstream movie. It’s. And but, it isn’t. If the common mainstream movie tries to make you snort or cry or provide you with a message, Kadaisi Vivasayi tries to… make you one with the universe.
Or at the very least, it tries to make us one with earth, with the soil that we share with crows and peacocks and ants and elephants and a ninety–yr–previous man named Maayandi. He’s the Kadaisi Vivasayi of the title. There may be an apparent, very literal purpose for this title. Everybody round Maayandi has offered their lands. They are now doing different issues and this man is the final farmer, the “okayadaisi okayivasayi” who takes his cattle and ploughs his discipline.
However there’s additionally a much less apparent purpose for the title. It’s the truth that Maayandi and folks like him are the final of a form. Throughout a competition, some individuals need a mud horse made. And whom do they go to? To the final remaining potter within the village, a person who nonetheless makes use of a potter’s wheel. When he operates that wheel, the individuals look on as if he’s doing magic.
Maaayandi too is a form of… magician, a shaman with vegetation. Take a look at his very identify. Maayandi: which refers to an important caring god. In an exquisite scene, Maayandi tastes the punnaaku that he’s shopping for for his cattle. He senses its high quality. However extra importantly, he cares. He cares about what he’s feeding his cattle. He cares about every plant, as a result of it has life. It’s a dwelling being. And the large irony of the story comes about when he’s accused of killing another dwelling beings. He will get caught in a wierd and nearly surreal court docket case and results in jail.
Often, the feelings in a movie come from the story, the characters. Right here, the feelings come from a better aircraft. It’s nearly as if the plot doesn’t matter.
Let me clarify. The screenplay works because it ought to. It units up the world we’re coming into. Then the inciting incident occurs. Then we see what occurs in that court docket case. All of that is from the traditional screen-writing guide. However right here’s the distinction. As a substitute of main us from one occasion to a different occasion, the screenplay leads us from one huge thought or metaphor to a different huge thought or metaphor.
Take the second the place Maayandi is in jail and he appears to be like on the bushes outdoors. The partitions of the jail are so excessive that he can see solely the tops of the bushes. In one other film, we’d see Maayandi weep. Or we’d see him protest in opposition to his arrest. Or we’d see him fall on the ft of the lawyer. However he does none of these issues. He’s led alongside from scenario to scenario, because of native politics – and it’s nearly just like the story is functioning by itself, with out its protagonist.
Or take the purpose about him being illiterate. How fantastically it’s introduced out, how fantastically it’s positioned within the screenplay, and the way fantastically it makes us look again at how a lot he is aware of regardless of his lack of bookish data.
Or take the Vijay Sethupathi character. He’s a devotee of Lord Muruga, which is why the inciting incident occasionoccurs round peacocks. Like Maayandi, he additionally has a god’s identify: Ramiah. However is Ramiah a person or a metaphor? He wears various watches all the best way up his arm. All of them appear to be damaged. In different phrases, he’s… timeless.
Earthly time has no which means for him. And his most lovely scene appears to be like like a sorcerer’s trick. The 2 baggage he carries round are a reminder of the emotional baggage he carries round – after which, suddenly, he doesn’t want them anyextra. He has an beautiful scene with a sadhu who eats solely discarded meals from a dustbin. Once more, the scene is so crammed with spirituality and interior which means that you just overlook it has nothing to do with the precise “plot”.
Maayandi is partly exhausting of listening to, which is once more a form of metaphor. Similar to the Ramiah character has no use for earthly time, Maayandi has no use for the conversations of earthly individuals right now, who’re nothing like him. The native god has no human form, which once more is a form of metaphor. Or at the very least, these items invite us to suppose past the plot. Even the operating joke a couple of bald man and his makes an attempt to develop hair says one thing about how we at all times discover deficiencies in our lives. As a result of in comparison with his agony, one other individual with a bodily subject—a dwarf lady—seems rather more content material. Even Yogi Babu is used as a philosophical determine. Think about that.
There may be a number of mild comedy—particularly within the scenes the place different persons are requested to care for Mayandi’s land. However nothing is loud and every thing is organically half of an entire. Take the scene the place we uncover how wholesome Mayandi is for his age or how he doesn’t have energy in his home—and due to this fact no followers and so forth. It is a very sturdy commentary in opposition to our consumerist lives right now. However it performs like bits of comedy. That’s the fantastic thing about it.
Kadaisi Vivasayi is an exquisite instance of easy methods to discuss essential issues with out giving boring lectures. It talks about issues like natural farming and GMO crops and pesticides and murders being dedicated for land. However the best way they’re woven into the screenplay, we don’t even get prolonged conversations. We get both throwaway strains or jokes, just like the terrific one Maayandi makes about seedless tomatoes.
Even the scene the place a jailed man learns how straightforward it’s to develop vegetation has a component of absurdism in it – how can we not know that every one it takes to be a “farmer” is daylight and water and soil? In actual fact, the movie itself is a plea to carry again all the traditional farming data that we’ve misplaced. However Manikandan is saying: Look, these items are essential to me, however I don’t wish to hit you on the pinnacle as a result of your priorities could also be totally different. And that’s the greatest technique to make a message film.
The final stretch? With out spoiling it for you, let me say that it’s the solely factor that didn’t totally work for me. It felt extra mainstream than the remainder of the film. However I may perceive the idealism behind these scenes. And the sight of the peacock spreading its feathers and dancing is such an indication of hope. I can see why these scenes are wanted.
Vijay Sethupathi has a small position however he’s excellent. He brings sure dimensions to the character that I’ve by no means seen on his face on display screen. I appreciated Rachel Rebecca, who performs the choose. Her character exhibits how one can see an harmless man and but be sure by legal guidelines and guidelines to contemplate him responsible. And the previous man, Nallandi, is an ideal match. I gained’t name him an important actor within the “technical” sense. However that’s precisely why he’s so good. He actually makes you see a person who is maybe out of his ingredient, a person whose odd rhythms of speech and lack of listening to make him as awkward as a brand new actor standing earlier than the digital camera.
Like Maayandi, Manikandan’s cinematography is one with the earth, one with the soil. The one fairly photographs are these of the solar and moon and clouds. In any other case, he makes use of a color palette that appears to have been bleached out by a cruel solar. Even that scene I discussed earlier, with Maayandi wanting on the bushes—it may have been an exquisite shot. As a substitute, we get an exquisite emotion.
Manikandan doesn’t manipulate us. These similar feelings may have been performed at a excessive pitch, with a number of melodrama. However Manikandan doesn’t try this. He doesn’t sentimentalise this story. There isn’t any “ayyo pavam” enterprise.We really feel the movie as a result of Manikandan lets the feelings construct slowly naturally and enter us like air – not as a result of the background rating is wailing with 100 strings. It is a movie with utmost dignity.
This dignity is there within the staging. This dignity can also be there within the excellent background rating by Santhosh Narayanan and Richard Harvey. Manikandan makes use of the rating minimally –which exhibits how a lot confidence he has in his materials and in his personal expertise as a director. The primary time we hear music within the movie is when Maayandi relaxes at night time after an extended day –there’s a beautiful acoustic guitar passage. Elsewhere, I feel I heard a pan flute. There are songs, just like the well-known “Karapanaiendralum karchilai endralum”, written by Vaali. The one instances we hear a bigness within the rating is when the second deserves it – like within the scene with the sadhu and Ramiah. In different phrases, like Manikandan, the rating doesn’t manipulate us. It underlines both the larger themes of the movie or the smaller emotion of a selected scene.
Kadaisi Vivasayi is open to a number of readings and interpretation and you’ll all take away one thing from this lovely film. However here’s what I took away. Maayandi says that due to his nilam, his land, he has a purpose to get up. In any other case why ought to he stand up within the morning? What is going to he do? This impacted me profoundly as a result of it locks into one thing I take into consideration loads: objective. What’s the objective of Maayandi’s life? To develop extra life. Are you able to get a extra lovely summation of existence than that?