Today Ajay and I have decided to create as many spoilers as possible for ‘Iraivi’ in a Q and A format.
S: So Ajay, will you break the ice by asking the first question?
A: Let us address the elephant in the room first. Did you like the movie? I loved it.
S: That’s a really hard question. (Laughs.) I would say I found it very interesting on many levels. Not sure if I can give a binary answer.
A: Haha. That’s a typical Sai Vikneshwar’s answer.
S: Let me take revenge by posing you a difficult question. Which character in the movie intrigued you the most and why?
A: Ah. My favourite character would be Ponni (Anjali) just for the arc. She started off as someone whose only ambition was to marry someone who is like a cine star but in the end, she had this complete transformation to someone with a whole new perspective of life. Her contrast with Yazhini (Kamalini) is what made her stand out. Yazhini, on the other hand, started off as rather ‘modern’ and feministic and in the end she ended up in a place somewhat similar to wh ere Ponni was in the beginning. These two arcs stood out really well for me.
S: Fantastic reading! To add to things, I thought Anjali gave a very solid performance. Her best till now maybe?
A: One of her bests, I would say (:P). She has a reputation to give solid performances in many of her previous films. But yes. This really was one hell of a performance. Which scene stood out in the film for you?
S: I loved the scene where Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) confronts Ponni on her ‘potential’ affair with Jagan (‘Bobby’ Simhaa). It’s a ruthlessly practical scene. She keeps listening to him and meanwhile notices that it is about to rain. She walks out, takes the hanging clothes and comes back to continue their conversation. Somehow, this scene really stood out for me.
A: A hat-tip to KB maybe?
S: Maybe that’s why I am addicted to that scene :).
A: Haha. I can see why. As long as we are speaking about characters, I found one character transformation to be quite unreasonable. We were made to see Michael as a calm guy with predictable behaviour since the beginning of the film but in the interval he unleashes this beast inside of him in an unpredictable way and we never had any hint that he was capable of something like this. Jigarthanda also had this drastic transformation of Sethu in the second half. How do you see this trait of Karthik?
S: This quality is what I think makes KS stand out. If you see our past filmmakers, they couldn’t help but end up shading most of the characters as black and white. KS looks like he wants to completely break away from this trend. Here too, Arul (SJ Suryah), Michael and Jagan have very amusing shades. On a related note, what do you think about Arul being shown as a filmmaker? The meta zone?
A: Excellent! Karthik does explore the gray shades of all the characters in all his films. I think making Arul as a filmmaker gave him this platform to include most of his real life incidents in the film. I don’t see any other reason for that character to be a filmmaker otherwise. He has proved that his game in meta-ness is quite strong in his previous film as well.
S: Haha, I see you realize that we are talking in a dangerous zone. People might already be getting ready with Eggs, Tomatoes and Stones (the phrase sounds better in Tamil – “Muttai, Thakkali oda ready ah irukaanga!”).
A: I can definitely see that! Let us end this discussion about characters with one final character. Cheenu is back!!
S: Yeah, good to see him. The scene where he goes to ask Malar’s hand in marriage for Michael is very funny! 🙂
A: Yes! What a solid performance he has given. It was very refreshing to see him in such a role after seeing him in those numerous Crazy plays.
S: Totally. Hey, so did you notice any of the many visual metaphors?
A: The obvious and the most beautiful one was Michael’s prison clothes falling down when he gets released.
S: I agree. There is also the song right? In which only Malar is dressed in white and others are all dressed in black, showing Michael has no guilt associated with her.
A: Dhushta? Wow. I’m just realizing that. Excellent catch! And another thing that I noticed is how rain played a vital role in the film. It appears whenever a female character in the movie undergoes a significant moment in her life. And the clever placement of the dialogue “Mazhai, nenaiyalama?” and the characters responding to that based on where they are in their life currently.
S: Yes, the “Dhushta” song. Lovely. And you must be very happy being a Mani Rathnam fan 🙂 One more thing that I found very interesting was this whole thing about male chauvinism being extended to minor characters too. Not just Vadivukkarasi but also to the dead producer’s wife. This is a whole other level of the writing being organic.
A: Male chauvinism and patriarchy is the main USP of the film. There has been talks going around that this film is the epitome of modern day feminism, but I don’t think so. Kadhalum Kadanthu Pogum was more feministic than Iraivi. This was just about how chauvinism is spread across everywhere and how women these days are affected by it. Do you agree?
S: I would say calling “Iraivi” a feministic film would be equivalent to calling “Masaan” as a preachy taboo drama. So yes, I agree with you.
A: Haha excellent analogy.
S: I am surprised our readers aren’t bored yet? Is it time to conclude?
A: If at all someone has made it this far, hats off to them. One thing I loved about Iraivi is how it has intrigued so many people. Everyone has some original opinion about the film and not just going along with the masses. It has made people to speak out. It has made them realize that patriarchy is still prevalent and there is no point in still continuing the same way. I would prefer movies like this that invokes constructive cultural debate amongst the youth any day rather than movies that forcefully insert some social message to glorify the ‘hero’ in their script.
S: Thanks for the wonderful conclusion. I think movies like ‘Iraivi’ which aim for the moon and maybe fall a little lower, are any better than the lazy and ordinary soap-operas we see in the name of movies. I guess it’s time to say goodbye from our side and see you soon for the next movie 🙂
A: Thank you Sai! I hope we can do this often. It always is a pleasure to talk about movies with you 🙂
S: Same here. Thanks Ajay for this idea, opportunity and a lot more things!
(Ajay and I decide to watch ‘Iraivi’ once again.)