Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ye Maaya Chesave (Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaya): About the 'unpredictable woman'!

So, K Balachander has written to Gautam Vasudev Menon raving about his latest movie Ye Maaya Chesave (Original 'Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaya' in Tamil meaning “Will You Come Down the Sky?”) and told him he is the next icon. It's unfair to compare both the versions as the climax seems to vary. The producers of Telugu version, in line with widely-held belief that Telugu audience would NEVER accept a sad/less-than-shubham card kind of ending, changed the the original 'unhappy' climax. So the very intent of the movie is lost in Telugu version. That is because the movie was implying an unhappy ending all through. There was hardly a scene where the two lovers were uninhibited about their love. In fact, the movie was peppered with dialogues like "she is my one-way ticket to heartbreak city!" from the guy and "let me feel this pain, I like this pain" from the girl. It is the stylised picturization, background score and Music that makes this movie look like a mushy love story and not the content.

And compounding the intent-loss is the fact that as in his previous movie, Menon focuses self-indulgently on his story-telling and not the story. As he himself says "More than falling in love, therefore, the film’s story focuses on “what happens in the next moment.” It is kind of running commentary, day in and day out of a guy who just fell in love. The guy is spontaneous and the Girl so confused. And Love being such a complex emotion, the story shows its two protagonists in behaviours outside the realm of reason or logic. The lady is in a iterative loop of indecision and the guy in a similar loop of hope and frustration, depending on his lady's mood. All love stories dished out in Indian movies more or less revolve around external hurdles like families, villains or external circumstances. Maniratnam's 'Sakhi' (Alaipayuthey in Tamil, Saathiya in Hindi) was the only reasonable exception to dig into the lovers' psyche to create a conflict. But that was a case of love after marriage. But Menon takes the big challenge by creating conflict from the lovers' own complexities. After all, in a world this complex when guys and girls do lot of thinking to decide what they want, accepting someone as love and then life-partner is no simple thing. Menon exposes these predicaments, vulnerabilities and fragility in the romance by relying on the universally celebrated 'women are unpredictable' stereotype. Even in Telugu we have this famous line 'Adavaarimaatalaku ardhaleverule' (Women speak something but mean something else). So here, Jessi, the lady's characteristics manifest in all complexities this love cycle goes through. This is a very unconventional characterization by Menon as this is the first time, I saw, a complete movie is dedicated to the 'unpredicatble woman'.
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AR Rahman's BG score and Music captures the mood just right. The movie is stylishly made as is Menon's wont. The Alleppey shots are breath-taking and Rajeev Menon got a credit for the location. Samantha, the lady in Telugu version is perfectly cast. Her costumes are perfect and her acting elegant. I did not quite get Nagachaitanya's line of acting. He was just being himself all through the movie and could not present his character well. Even the earnestness seen in his debut movie is missing. Gautam Vasudev Menon continues his Surya S/O Krishnan (Vaaranam Aayiram) kind of musings in Ye Maaya Chesave.

Well, the 80 year old living legend of Tamil cinema Balachander wrote the viewers are wise and they got it, the viewers who liked the movie point to us Balachander is a legend and those who didn't say, rather uncharitably, that KB is now 80 and lost sense of judgement!

The reactions are so drastically different. Some rave about it and others completely trash it. One of my friends' mom supposedly said she always wondered why viewers would throw stones at a screen until she saw this one! Others with their brush with cupid can't stop raving about how the complexities of a crush are beautifully portrayed on screen. Ye Maaya Chesave is like poetry. Those who can relate to it appreciate it. Those who can't get bored like hell. It is an intensely personal experience, like Menon's earlier Surya starrer. It is a genuinely honest movie, well-made. The only mistake, I thought, was changing the climax for Telugu. The original climax would have avoided the confusion that now set in about the 'story' of the movie. Changing the climax killed the spirit of the movie and made the viewers wonder about the whole point of the movie.

16 comments:

sachin said...

Hey Amar,

I have enjoyed this movie or rather let me put it in this way, Its one of the Telugu movie in recent times which I have enjoyed a lot. I should say Naga Chaitanya was totally misfit for this role, I would have loved to see any other actor in that place as he was unable to portray any of the emotions of person who is in LOVE, but we need to live with what we call dynasty actors (don't worry am not going to deviate from the topic). About the leading lady, I should say it was treat to watch her on screen, I should say I enjoyed her voice more than her visuals and full credit goes to Chinmayi Sripada (Same lady responsible for Sameera Reddy's voice over in Surya S/o Krishnan). Her voice is too too good and it suits the situation aptly she sounded more mature than our crap hero and at the same time confused as you rightly said in ur post.

Music is fantastic, thanks to Rahman. I love 'E Hridayam' song, its a very catchy tune.

And one more thing buddy, I feel movie had a nice end as I don't think all love stories should end sadly only to leave an impact on the viewers. For me it was an honest move by both the characters and finally they meet, after all we must believe 'MARRIAGES ARE MADE IN HEAVEN'.

Sachin ;-)

Madhav said...

Amar:

Everything about woman is basically a mystery to men. We usually never understand them well...

This movie most significantly reveals how men are usually straight-forward while women are so mysterious and 'unpredictable'..

Having some similar personal experiences (unsuccessful though) I could relate to what is being narrated...

I never thought anyone could analyse such a poetic film.. But really Amar, you've a very refined understanding of films... You must seriously contemplate becoming film-critic/reviewer to some telugu website..

Madhav said...

Once an interviewer asked Balachander on why most of his films have sad endings..

To this he replied that positive endings usually decrease the intensity of love...Usually marriage follows and love is not so pure or intense..

Whereas in sad endings, the feelings and the nostalgic memories carry an immense impact on people(characters) and also the audience feels more about it..

Amar said...

@ Sachin,
//he was unable to portray any of the emotions of person who is in LOVE//
Now no one can contest that coming as it from u :) Who knows better!

Maybe the hope was that NC with his age would naturally fit in with his raw emotions. Maybe they thought acting wouldn't be required! But it didn't work out.

//full credit goes to Chinmayi ..//
cent per cent. Hear that song of hers 'Love u Love u da..' from tamil movie Sankarakatti? try it

//I don't think all love stories should end sadly only to leave an impact on the viewers..//
I agree. I added a line to the post when I saw this comment - "That is because the movie was implying an unhappy ending all through. There was hardly a scene where the two lovers were uninhibited about their love. In fact, the movie was peppered with dialogues like "she is my one-way ticket to heartbreak city!" from the guy and "let me feel this pain, I like this pain" from the girl. It is the stylised picturization, background score and Music that makes this movie look like a mushy love story and not the content."

Hence I thought the happy ending looked forced.

Amar said...

@ Madhav,
//This movie most significantly reveals how men are usually straight-forward while women are so mysterious and 'unpredictable'..//
How much of this is a stereotype? a literary stereotype? Or is this an extension of what George Bernard Shaw and Freud portrayed abt women? I am not sure.

//I never thought anyone could analyse such a poetic film..//
Thanks buddy. Interpreting a beautiful work is in itself beautiful. So the pleasure is mine.

//Whereas in sad endings, the feelings and the nostalgic memories carry an immense impact on people//
When we say 'sad endings', the best of them said something profound so they register an impact. But having a sad ending just for the heck of it, to be 'different' would surely backfire. There needs to be incredible honesty to end something on a sad note and successfully convince the audience. People who usually fail refuse to accept this and instead safely blame the audience. This is what I always thought.

Madhav said...

How much of this is a stereotype?
I don't know either. But thats how it has been going for centuries now! (ok! lets say depiction in literature)... But psychology of women is markedly different. We must understand while judging women through women's perspective one may feel it perfectly normal. But we usually judge them through our (here male) perspective, which makes it mysterious.. I think its so because we don't understand why they do certain things! Hence, this stereotype will remain for now! :-)

People who usually fail refuse to accept this and instead safely blame the audience.

Audience is not a homogeneous entity. You yourself say that depending on one's sensibilities they relate to movie and hence like/dislike it...Most of these depend on pure luck such as timing, release of other movies etc.

Those directors who make movies which excites them alone and don't take other issues such as commercial aspects etc make movies which touch them and thus make movies differently. Telugu directors usually go for movies which involve maximum cross-section of people and thus dilute their story by inserting commercial pay-offs...

From last 4-5 , we have only similar stories with excess patronage of comedy!

Imagine if we could have had films like Sankarabharamu if we had in mind the collections of films.

eeg said...

Learning makes a good man better and ill man worse...................................................

Amar said...

@ Madhav,
//Audience is not a homogeneous entity. //
Yes. There are all kind of audiences. That is precisely why I say there is no need to give similar treatments to all stories.

//depending on one's sensibilities they relate to movie and hence like/dislike it//
Yes. Its the theme I was referring to, not the endings. If, for instance, u like soft romantic stories, u will anyway like them irrespective of the ending, as long as the ending does not look forced. Stories, I think, need to be told honestly and should be consistent with the idea. Here, In this movie, it was fragile love and the obvious ending is sad. But due to producer pressure, the story-teller forced a different ending. It looked dishonest and out of place for me.

// Telugu directors usually go for movies which involve maximum cross-section of people and thus dilute their story by inserting commercial pay-offs..//
And the result, as we know, is flop after flop. The audience smell the honesty in the story. I believe they are wise enough to know the imposters. If indeed our filmmakers knew our audience inside-out, they would have churned many a blockbuster. So their confidence about 'sad endings wont work' view is baffling.

jayakrishna.reddy said...

Amar ,

I saw the film in both telugu and tamil and i feel the film was better in tamil rather than in telugu with so called hero in telugu could not do justice to the charecter and his intro could be just because of their clan and family indulgence . shimbu and trisha were best fit for the movie , i feel trisha has acted the best in the film .

voice in telugu and tamil for the heorines was the same and the strength for the film .

As you pointed out women is a mystery is depicted well .

I loved the tragic end in tamil to be more justified for the acting of shimbu ....

The Cynic said...

I loved your review. I have faced similar situation in life and I so I could relate to the movie. My family hated the movie but I loved it.

The movie created a kind of longing in me, I still can't get over it.

I'm posting a link to your review in my blog http://cynicsoptimism.blogspot.com/

Thanks for the content.

Ravinder said...

Wow!!! what a movie....
Very refreshing... I never thought love stories can be made this sweeter....
I almost am fallen in love once again while watching this movie...
"I'm not BOTHERED if they altered the story or what?????" I liked it a lot....
Background Score and music...wow!!! wow!!! wow!!!

Ravinder said...

Arey Amar,
Had it been Trisha in Telugu.. I bet you... I would have never watched this movie.
This movie is refreshing only because of both new Actors.
I'm not sure how it has come Tamil .... Trisha is the damaging part of the movie and I'm not sure whether this unpredictable woman is portrayed well ??????

Definitely I cannot watch a Trisha movie...

Harisha said...

Hi Amar,

Saw this movie thrice( twice in Telugu, once in Tamil) so far. What you said is right. When I saw the movie till first half, I was wondering what does the director wants to show. The climax in Telugu makes the movie itself pointless. I really wonder how could people like the Telugu version(forget about relating to it).

Can't say much about the making but NC and Samantha were far better then their counterparts in Tamil.

The music ah.... it just got so right that it blended with the soul of the movie. I have been a hard core fan of ARR, but this is the best coz I've never heard any movie's background music and its songs being so close and connected to the theme of the movie.

Coming to songs, people who know both the languages can easily make out that the songs in Tamil are very good compared to Telugu ones. They go with the story and are awesome. In fact, I loved 'Mannipaaya'. Many music director's sing songs in the movies they score but Rahman's specialty lies in choosing the best ones. Can't stop appreciating him.

After the disastrous Robot and Puli, I wish he comes back with a bang!

Jan said...

Hi, very nice review! I watched the Tamil version and I can imagine how the Telugu version, with the happy ending must be, and I agree that that would miss the whole point of the movie. Whether happy endings are good or bad is a whole different debate, but this movie is, as you rightly say, set and built on the anticipation of a sad ending. That IS, in fact, the whole point of the movie--the fleeting, nostalgic nature of First Love.

About the woman being portrayed as a mysterious, confusing entity, I both agree and disagree. This is how Jessie is portrayed, but I would definitely not call it a cliche portrayal. As a woman, I was pleasantly surprised by the sensitive treatment of the woman's emotion. No matter how confused she seemed, GVM has somehow portrayed her in a sympathetic fashion. You never just get irritated with her, you can always see the psychological depth of her character--she feels pain just as much as he does, and she is torn. It is a hugely difficult decision for her to make. It's for this reason that VTV is one of my favourite love stories of recent times :)

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