Long journeys by bus is something that i really love, but a few experiences of late have made me rethink. The first was a long trip to chennai from kerala in a not so comfy bus.And a movie Devathaiye kandein starring dhanush plying on the telly. For the uninitiated, Dhanush happens to be Rajinikanth's S-I-L and that is pretty much all that is about him. On a given day, out in the streets of chennai, u wouldnt be wrong, if u mistook him for an autodriver. And a heroine, with negative emoting skills, and cornier dialogues and crassier comedians, it was one of the most claustrophobic experiences of my life. My Ipod was on full blast but it couldnt drain out the "Din-chak, Dak-chak, dan-da-naka, da-daka-daka", that so characterises tamil music these days. Add to that the sight of a scrawny hero, thrusting his pelvis and gyrating in the name of the dance, the expreience rather the torture was complete. So it was with a little trepidation when during my trip to the sabarimala, the TV screen flickered to life. It read "Saraswathi Shapatham", Eastman colour..
The movie startedoff with a long monologue by the producers, who it seems had made the movie to arrest the crass materialism in society and to lay to rest the debate on wealth Vs knowledge Vs Authority/power..Well atleast they said so themselves in a lengthy monologue at the beginning and with the gods in technicolour filling the screen, the atmosphere was set for the story to unfold. Shivaji as Narada...and a whole whos who of the 60s tamil filmdom was on show...fully decked up...The next 3 hrs were sort of an eye opener for me.....a glimpse into what Edison had in mind when he invented cinema in the first place....religious propaganda.....maybe
The next 3 hrs was one long riot of colours, the whole pantheon of hindu gods, song and dance and over-the-top emoting ending in a technicolor SHUBHAM. But the piece de resistance was CHEVALIER SHIVAJI GANESAN
He owned the screen from the moment he entered as narada. His slender gait, gait that would put a beauty queen to shame...the hips shaking as though doing a catwalk. And emoting that would give a complex to a kathakali artiste...millions of facial muscles twitching, twirling to bring togethor that perfect expression taht would last only a fleeting moment to be replaced by the next perfect one. and when coupled with the dancing eyebrows, it shows what acting is all about...or is it what it is not about...never mind....but that sure did cure me of my phobia for long bus journeys