Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Veedu - Revisiting Tamil Cinema - 11

I have a distant memory of seeing this film in Doordarshan. When this film won the national award, this was one of the routine Tamil films to be telecasted in Sunday afternoon.

This was then a difficult film for me to see, with no songs and actions and the grainy pictures in Doordarshan, but the music of Illayaraja will keep on lingering in the mind. It gave a sad feeling, but I couldn’t understand the visuals.

After many years, I had a chance to see it again. As years move, I became accustomed to see different, odd films. Some what I’m able to appreciate the beauty (again sadness) in this film. So by using all my experience (just a dandruff flake) in film watching, I’m going to rewrite a scene from this film. I’m going assume, how this particular scene would had been shot by Balachander and Bharathiraja.

The scene is when Murugesan (Chokalinga Bhagavatar) visit the under-construction house after the roof work is completed. The following will be Balu Mahendra version from the film,
  • - He commutes to Virugambakkam by MTC bus.
  • - Get down from the bus by forgetting the umbrella.
  • - Walk to the construction site in hot sun.
  • - Visit the house. Feels very happy. Background music by IR.
  • - Asks for drinking water to quench his thirst.
  • - Falls on the road while walking back to the bus stop. An onlooker rushes to help him.
  • - (Next scene we cut to Sudha office. She gets a phone call)
In this scene, I’m doing some little modifications to make Balachander and Bharathiraja version. Fans please excuse me.

Balachander version

The characters of Balachander emote a lot. Most of them are talkative. Since they are full of emotions, the camera is always in close-up (or vice-versa), especially when there is a crucial moment. The close-up camera angle is not straight, but placed at an angle. 

Here is how he would have made the above mentioned scene, two scenes,
  • - Bus shot won’t be there in KB version.
  • - Murugesan will head straight to the construction site
  • - Feels elated as in Balu Mahendra version
  • - Go back to house. (We can omit this shot and go straight to the next scene)
  • - (2) Evening, in the verandah, he is sitting in the chair with a glass of water in his hand. Younger grand daughter (Indhu) is seated at a distance in the verandah too. Sudha enters the house. Sudha knew that Murugesan had gone to the site. Concerned about his age, she is angry with him. The camera follows her to the room; possibly she is going to change her dress. She is not scolding, but some concerned words. Her talk is interrupted by a sound - water tumbler falling on the floor. She rushes to the verandah and he is already dead. All three (Sudha, Indhu & Murugesen) have close-ups.

Bharathiraja version

Like Balachander version the initial bus shot is not in this version too. The rest of the scenes as follow,
  • - Murugesan visits the site.
  • - He feels elated. Background IR music.
  • - He is returning back in the MTC bus, with the same elated feeling and same IR music in background. Two to three cuts back-and-forth (New house and bus).
  • - In between the back-and-forth shots, the camera to show the bus tire for few shots and the tire bursts.
  • - At the same moment Murugesu head turns into position such a way we feel that he is asleep.
  • - The conductor asks everyone to get down. Seeing Murugesan the only passenger siting in the bus, the conductor walks towards him and shake his shoulder, instead of waking up Murugesu falls on the seat as dead.
Again, fans please excuse me.

Other Tamil films you might be interested from this "Revisiting" series- Manal Kayaru, May Madham, Taj Mahal, Baasha, MMKR, Hey Ram, Sabapathy, Raja Paarvai, Vikram, 16 Vayathinile


  1. It's classic cinema. I remember watching it in Doordarshan too. The scene modulation, it's a nice try. And you've an interesting blog :)

    1. Scene modulation is I don't want to write a conventional things about the film. Trying to write about same genre (cinema) in different ways. Thanks for your comments.

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