Readers Write In #698: Garudan

By Aadesh Ramaswamy

Soori is quickly turning out to be a most interesting actor that we have working today. Garudan posits him as the obedient servant of Karuna, played by a sad Unni Mukundan, who is best friends with Aadhi, played by a smart Sasikumar. The 3 of them grow together. All hell breaks loose when they begin to be directed by R Durai Senthilkumar.

Ofc, everyone would have known by this point that the main feature of the film is Sokkan’s, played by Soori, extreme loyalty to Karuna, who took him in when he was a small orphan. We, through some melotammaana scenes, see his devotion to Karuna. The problem is, both literally and cinematically, Karuna.

In the beginning he seems quite normal. But one incident which involves his wife evoking their famed and rich past, causes a chain reaction of events and emotions inside Karuna. Why is it that he is so disturbed by the thing she says? It doesn’t seem that he was concerned about it before. And this one thing, makes him do so many “bad “activities that affect the lives of Aadhi, Sokkan etc. He goes from being a loyal friend to someone who doesn’t even care about killing him. It would have been a revelation if we had seen his own personal ego making him take these extreme steps, like it was in SenthilKumar’s Kodi, where Trisha kills Kodi due to her ambition. But here, it is shown that Karuna, had already killed another very close person, thus breaking the previous told idea. Was he always plagued by this thought and was his wife’s meltdown a spark for this? Or that he already wanted to do it? There is a confusion.

Karuna the guy who went against his father-in-law because Aadhi told something in relation to an issue concerning Karuna’s brother-in-law, becomes the “bad guy”. (An interesting thing was how the brother-in-law treats his inter-religious marriage with his wife (a love marriage that too) with disdain, but begins to respect her when he is affected by Sokkan).

Take Sokkan. He is dead loyal to Karuna. After a particular point, he is forced to stand against Karuna himself. But then the reason for that is a dialogue by Sokkan and not a realisation of what we felt about how he felt. It involves him being treated differently (in a good way) by Aadhi’s family. But we never even see that or realise that. It could be said that his relationship with Aadhi’s wife and Aadhi’s children could have been an indicator of his personal standings, but then that doesn’t register to you that Sokkan felt the way he felt. In retrospect, we realise that Sokkan was closer to Aadhi’s family than Karuna’s family and was only obedient to Karuna and his grandmother (the one who raised them all).

The romance track again seems to be something that comes as a pre-written element to taunt the protagonist when he commits a mistake, rather than a natural extension of his life. The one interesting thing is that something that Vannarasi (the lover) asks Sokkan, turns out to be the climax of the film.

The climax. A very visually interesting piece of location and mood. The reds and browns of Karuna’s brick business reflecting the anger and kovam inside Sokkan. A fight ensues.

Like all the fights in the film, this (with its oner, like some of the other fights) impresses. But when it all ends, it abruptly freezes as if they have hit the brakes to Sokkan’s life, with the “Kathai-thiraikathai-Vasanam-Iyakkam by Senthilkumar”. There seems to be no consideration to the dialogue by Sokkan to Karuna (“You made me a human like you from the dog that I was”), no consideration to the tragedy that Sokkan’s life is and no consideration to the obvious change in Sokkan and his life.

I expected a “Kadasila ennayum ipdi panna vechuteengale” style meltdown from Sokkan but instead all we get is a sad kneeling on the ground. The emotional violence Sokkan faces is beaten with competent physical violence but there is no consideration to it making it entirely nihilistic.

And weirdly, after the “kathai-thiraikathai” tag, we get some small sized post credits scene, which then becomes full screen ending with an absolute dumb line which is the equivalent of a “Padathoda pera sollitaar aam”.

It might seem like there is a lot to dislike in the film. There are things you can enjoy to. The way Sokkan behave with Karuna, some very well-choreographed sequences (Like the one which has Aadhi’s dead body), the terrific (in action and score) interval sequence with a very different Sokkan, the way the interfaith marriage subplot (though artificial in a way) is treated with comedy (despite being material for melodrama) and the “heist” sequence preceding the interval portion. The only issue is that all these are connected by emotions which are so flimsy like when Aadhi and Sokkan touch Grandmother’s feet in the temple and they awkwardly say “You’re also a God to us. The God who fed us”. They are awkward. The scene where Aadhi comes lates for a function is awkward.

But not the emotions. Not Sokkan’s loyalty to Karuna nor Aadhi’s to Karuna. And that’s what makes the film flow.

#Readers #Write #Garudan

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