Saturday, 25 February 2017

Kanavu Variyam: A dream that needs more reception

It all started with Tamil Thai Vaazhthu right after the censor certificate by putting a hidden question to the spectators, that if you are ready to stand up for national anthem, why not for your mother tongue's anthem? And this is that one reason, I feel that Kanavu Variyam (U) should be watched in theaters just to respect their attempt to propose this in their agenda. After watching this movie, I felt that I should really pen a viewer's note (which I write usually on rare occasions) for the movie which I had told my friend Ram too who came with me to watch the movie out of my compulsion.

I was having no expectations over the movie except for the hype created for it in its promotions quoting the international awards it has already been conferred with. But to my disappointment, the theater was with only a handful of viewers. That too in a huge audience capacity screen like Devi, the number seemed to be almost negligible.

However, I should say that the entire disappointment faded out just after watching a couple of scenes of the movie and I just returned with a fulfilled heart after watching the movie. It is all because of the content delivered in the movie despite few technical glitches.

Ideological aspect:

The movie scatters over several ideologies including the importance of organic farming, acquisition of knowledge through experience, importance of a library and above all, the central context 'what actually is leading a self sustained and self sufficient life style'. The theme of knowledge through experience is justified on screen in a couple of scenes. For an instance, the school days sequence of the protagonist Ezhil, where he witnesses the instant treatment to his classmate when he faints down out of gastric complexities and in another scene where he learns how does a radio works from a technician who explains it well even in a better way than his teacher who suffers from the protagonist's array of questions.

The importance of traditional farming methods too is said in the movie with an another protagonist who comes from a completely different field to agriculture and how he succeeds to reach that. The solution he finds for getting the proper yield is also delivered in a technical way thus by insisting the importance of an integrated farming method (ஒருங்கிணைந்த பண்ணை முறை விவசாயம்) justifying it by highlighting on the significance of cow dung (means importance of cow).

Ever since the first frame, both these ideologies are connected with a coincidental point which is said  before title that, all discoveries are made only after a 'sudden spark'. And this spark works out well in both the cases. Until you get the spark, you will be getting through a lot of hurdles like the people in town quoting you as 'moron' and a 'loser'.

Script aspect:

With a parallel running screenplay, the writer Arun Chidambaram who as well plays one of the two protagonists has dealt both in a right pace. The only place where I felt as hitch is love sequence and the songs followed after that. Otherwise, the entire movie runs in a normal pace. Despite having two protagonists, the screenplay does not affect each other and is in a simple run which will even entertain C-center and that would be the movie's success.

Similarly, the attempts of both the protagonists to attain their ultimate goals are portrayed in a perfect pace throughout the movie. Their obstacles in their path are shown down to earth instead of singing a five minute song to grow up all of sudden. Be it using various materials of belt for coupling the motor of his device or changing the methods of cultivation, efforts of both the protagonists are portrayed well.

Of all three, it was the dialogues part of the script which I feel that is the strength of the movie. The one liners of the hero's mom, his friend, a passer by villager and the retired head master turned librarian comes one after the other throughout the movie. With this it was so difficult to recall most of those one liners. Apart from one liners, there are some serious in depth dialogues too like the one referring the protagonists with Thomas Edison.

Technical aspect:

It is Selvakumar's (a newbie, I think) camera work of the movie that runs along with the screenplay. One frame I can never forget is the scene where the protagonist enters the library and picks out his first book during which the sunlight shines over him from a window behind the rack which gives the gesture that he is getting enlightened.

On the other hand, the imagination of Ezhil shown on his house's ceiling and also in a scrap dump yard in a completely animated world. In both these sequences animation experts have worked really hard to bring up perfection.

Next to these, it is the lyrics, be it a village childhood number, a love number or the other one tagging the hero as kirukkan (moron), lyrics are completely in an simple but in a deep note. It is Arun Chidambaram who again gets the credit since he has penned the lyrics for all those numbers.

There were some technical glitches too in the movie like coloruing hairs of characters in white to show ageing. It was looking little odd. Similarly, there could be some edits in love sequences and long conversations of the movie.


With a star cast having actors like Ilavarasu, Gnanasambanthan, Black Pandi and Yog Japee where each of them is a pro of their style, the director has given them enough space to establish their performance. Especially in one scene in the midst of the row of one liners, Ilavarasu gets a place to act without any dialogue after getting cured from the injures of an accident where he leaves his son to resume following his dreams. In the case of Balck Pandi, he travels throughout the movie as a Watson for Sherlock in a comical character without boring the audience.

Overall view:

For me, Kanavu Variyam is a complete director's movie which has no major commercial interruption. As most of the major crew works are taken by himself expect for the cinematography and the music, a pure ownership of Arun Chidambaram could be witnessed throughout the movie. For a perfect movie like this, which speaks of social causes a reception from the same society is what I feel as the right recognition than any number of international awards. It is the people, who have to judge the rest, as a good movie sans adult content, alcohol scenes (the movie does not even have the statutory warning message) and extreme violence is hard to get nowadays.

- Santhosh Mathevan
Chennai, February 25, 2017.

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