Friday, 26 October 2018

Genius: The writer should have at least tried to be one

When pre-production lacks the depth of research, it evidently shows up as a setback when the movie gets released. Apparently, what went a bit wrong with Susienthiran's Genius is this. The movie, that has a sincere intent, too, has shortcomings, in the same terms of sincerity, during writing.

As a writer, Susienthiran usually takes an ample amount of time for character establishment in his screenplays. But Genius opens right away showing us what its protagonist is up to. We are shown about him later in a hypnotisation session - his whereabouts, who is he, why is he behaving so. But, what comes as surprise is that the doctor telling him to be affected by schizophrenia. Because the symptoms what he shows are actually the ones caused by extreme depression. He goes through academic pressure, and later through work pressure. All of sudden he gets schizophrenia. Here is where the screenplay weakens technically.

On logical contexts, one can point out many moments in the movie like a student reading out 'samooga ariviyal' book inside a Matriculation school - is that not supposed to be a 'social science' book? One other insane sequence was a father quarrelling with his son's classmate's parents for seducing his ward to distract him from scoring the first rank at school - yeah, that's how it goes. Finally, the director gives a solution for the cure of schizophrenia and it is doubtful how many psychiatrists would at least recommend giving that a try.

As the writing is infirm, it has reflected highly on execution. The characters have become so blunt onscreen as they have lesser detail on papers. This turned out to be a setback. For an instance, Aadukalam Naren's role in Nanban, too, was on the same page, but the emotions he had to show there was little organic, which has not happened in Genius. So were the characters played by debutantes Roshan and Priyaa Lal. If Susienthiran could have added more nuances to both their roles, these two actors surely would have made it refract on the screen.

It was the combination of Yuvan Shankar Raja and the cinematographer Gurudev the saviour of the show. Both the composition and picturisation of 'Neengalum Oorum' number was quite innovative and enjoyable. Gurudev has some poetic moments to capture as well. The way Susienthiran has tried to compare half-drowned body in a river and a bathtub could reach the audience just because the cinematographer was able to make it possible.

Susienthiran, who is known for delivering a strong subtext through a very simple storyline and detailed narration, needs to take time for scripts like Genius, like how has taken before during the making of Azhagarsaamyin Kudhirai, Aadhalaal Kaadhal Seiveer, Jeeva and Naan Mahaan Alla. To be ardent, Genius is nowhere close to them.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, October 26, 2018.

A part or complete version of this review by Santhosh Mathevan has appeared in This viewer's note is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.