Have you ever been in a situation where you are forced to feel the sadness just because everyone else around you is sad? Sounds more like a Bala movie? Yeah, something like that. But in Paradesi, I actually felt sad for some people in that movie, if not all. Every single character in the movie is either evil or a cowardly slave. If someone is happy for sometime, they either die in the next scene or become a slave for the rest of their lives.I could rather say that this was probably the saddest of all his films.
The ‘introduction’, where he tells the plot of the movie, actually spoiled the whole movie for me. If it was placed in the end, it might have changed my whole view of the movie but then I also heard someone say that had he not revealed that this was a real story in the beginning, we might not have been able to sit through these 2 hours of agony and cruelty. Yes, the whole movie is sad. Not even a single scene makes you feel happy. Even if you try to make some witty comments, you won’t be able to. This also makes the movie stand out of the normal ones.
The protogonist, played brilliantly by Atharva, is one of those guys in a village, who is been made fun of all the while, is forced to do all the work for them. Even though he is said to be considered as the lowest form of life in that village, he seems to be the only one wearing a shirt or a kurta or whatever that is supposed to be. And of all the good looking men in the village, the usual “over-acting” female character (the heroine) of a Bala movie, this time being played by Vedhicka, falls in love with him for no reason at all. Not trying to find faults here, but if people could just try to stop making characters who have the mentality of a five year old and show them having premarital sex with a matured girl, it would be great. It feels so wrong when this is seen in a movie which happens in the 30’s.
Almost the whole second half shows us the cruel nature of the people owning the tea estate where all these people from a village are taken to work. But the question is, does it really need to be stressed for the whole second half? Almost everyone including me, got the whole point that they are so inhumane, by the time we were 15 minutes into the second half. Stressing it more and more just makes everyone tired, just like your current state of mind, as I’ve been talking about the same thing since the beginning. If the story had progressed anywhere further, people would have had some interest in what would happen in the next scene. Even though Avan Ivan is a bad example to quote here, at least in that movie the bad one is killed by one of the protagonists, which showed us a pint of light at the end of the tunnel. Paradesi is like travelling in the dark tunnel, without any light and we dont even know if it is a dead end or not.
The story is not something brand new. We have seen movies with a similar plot in the past. Actually after some time into the movie, it seemed like the story of a software professional who enters into the industry for the first time and the challenges he had to face.(Who knows? Some might even tell that this is the second layer of the movie after some days). But among people who don’t give a damn about taking full credit for someone else’s creation, specifying that this movie was inspired from the novel ‘Red Tea’ by Paul Harris Daniel, a book that only very few might have even heard of, should be appreciated (Yes. It has come to appreciating people for doing something that they are actually supposed to do. Hope this changes).
After seeing that reality teaser, I expected some mind blowing performances from everyone in the movie. But I couldn’t appreciate anyone else other than Atharva and a couple more extras. Most of the performances were a little too artifial. 90% of the second half was filled with songs, that too sad ones and in each and every song, people are tortured, raped and treated like shit.(Okay. Even I’m getting tired of this)
On the whole, the movie is not completely unwatchable, but is definitely not for the light hearted or for the ones who can’t stand sadness for more than two hours. People should watch it at least to know the pain and sufferings of all those people, without whom we might have never enjoyed the tea that we drink everyday. With a couple of stunning performances and a commendable effort by Bala, Paradesi is just another Bala movie, which has the potential to be his best till date.