Almost always, Indian movies are not simple. They are too complicated mostly and even otherwise have too complex settings, lots of subplots around and the script will be packed with many elements which are like inevitable. This is true even for art house movies, not often though. Its only once in a while we get a simple movie like Adaminte Makan Abu. At the same time we can hear all our directors raving about the movies from Korea or Iran or Europe, which have this simple structure. But they will not try to make one, of course owing to various reasons. Simply, movie makers are scared about the financial feasibility for such projects. Our viewers prefer not to watch excellent movies in theatres. But almost for the past decade, we are witnessing a big change in mentality, in this aspect, with Tamil viewers. Many movies, which were experimental and not conforming to the 'safe' formula were produced in Tamil and the Tamil people welcomed them with both hands and heart. A good percentage of such ventures were a success in Tamil Nadu, I would say is one of the major reasons, why we are witnessing a big change with Tamil movie industry that many are calling as new age Tamil movies. On one hand they make their routine masala movies and on the other they experiment and it is heartening that in Tamil Nadu there is an audience, a percentage enough to ensure the movie is a success, for such parallel or experimental or nouveaux styled movies.
In a remote village near Theni, Azhagarsaami is the deity of the village. Every year during the temple festival, the idol of the deity is taken on a procession atop a wooden horse (Azhagarsaami's horse). Villagers are really affected by the lack of rain and they believe conducting a good festival would please their god who will shower rain on them. And then the wooden horse is found missing. They find a new Oracle (actually a priest), with special powers from Kerala and the man predicts they will get back the horse in 3 days. And they do find the horse, just that it is not the missing wooden horse, but a real one. A young man, from another village, arrives and claims ownership of the real horse.
Let me be honest. I think, this movie can compete with many classics, from around the world, for its simplicity and genuineness. And it is an indigenous Indian movie too. A brilliant, simple, movie from India.
The movie is quite satirical actually and an element of fun runs throughout the movie, like an under ground river. Just that, the script and director has kept this element in a subtle way. Only if one really wants to nit pick for over board scenes, are there any. But with a little understand of Tamil culture, it is not over board any where.
Such a simple story, which has its brilliant moments. The name of the man coming in search for his horse also is Azhagarsaami, which is like a master stroke, wrapped in simplicity. So is his back ground and so is the reason behind the disappearance for the wooden horse. We can only watch this movie with a light smile through out, even with some really touching moments in between. And there is a kind of goodness and innocense flowing through the whole story which is quite heartening.
There is a small action scene, which is absolutely brilliant and realistic.
A very interesting aspect is that there is not any main character here. Nobody is going to question about how characters develop or anything like that. Every body in the village is a character and we get to know them, just enough. The horse is everywhere, though. Once again, the movie proves that Tamil cinema has reached a different level in India, as far as casting is concerned. Brilliant. There are only two or three recognisable faces. I cant appreciate the director and the cameraman enough. Brilliant work.
Such a pity, no distributor in Kerala want to release this movie here as if they are sure about the outcome. Nor do I hear about any film festivals or cinema clubs screening this one. If it had arrived with an East European or Persian or East Asian tag, I am sure it would have gained much more appreciation, I am afraid. I wish really, the producers of this movie will promote it abroad. This is the kind of real Indian movie, which will prove to the outside world that India is not all about the Bollywood kind of movies. We too have our own genuine movies, which can interest any movie lover from anywhere in the world.
I know, since Lagaan, that lots of Indians are obsessed with the Oscar awards, as if it is the be all and end all of movie awards. If India really wish to get an award in the Oscars - for best foreign language movie - India should submit this kind of genuine efforts (Aadukalam is another good choice). Not those movies which type to ape other movie cultures. If we look at the awards, we always find that the award winning movie in this category looks always indegenous to that culture, politics apart. (The only movie which won an oscar was Mother India and the one which went close was Lagaan) Since Azhagarssamiyin Kuthirai does not have any politics behind, I believe it will be a good choice.
I do not care for the Oscars. I simply wish this movie is promoted, especially in the big film festivals, and the world realise that we too can make good beautiful movies.