Afriend on Twitter asked, “Which is your secret spot for “me time” in Chennai OTHER than beach?” and I replied, “A Full weekday at any multiplex with continuous shows (morning, noon, and matinee) and a seat in centre of the last row!” I have done this quite often and it has helped me overcome numerous situations where I was a despondent mess. The joy of discovering gems like Mouna Guru, Demonte Colony, Island City, Ozhivudivasathe Kali, etc. in a sparsely populated multiplex either alone or with friends, kept me going. Of course, I had to endure a fair share of duds which added to the happiness while getting to watch something fresh & indie.
Having moved outside Chennai for the first time in my adult life, for a significant duration (it has been 17 months & counting) I am often posed with the question on what do I miss most and my constant answer has been my parents, friends and of course the food. I had presumed that subscribing to HeroTalkies, Tentkotta, Amazon Prime and Netflix had me sorted with respect to my movies quota. With so few movies releasing in my Swedish city, and with the tickets being pricey, I had almost forgotten my regular theatre sojourns. Thankfully, the Film festival weekend in my city in January every year allowed me my theatre pilgrimage in a one week burst. In fact I even had the opportunity to watch #Revelations, a Tamizh film in the Film Festival in 2017 but there was something missing.
That led me to think that perhaps it is due to me not being able to enjoy the stage-plays that I had consumed with regularity while in Chennai. In spite of digitization of the Tamil stage via the Yuv app, I was not able to derive the same pleasure out of watching a stage play live. The theatre scene is quite good in my city here in Sweden, I’ve heard, but the plays are in Swedish.
Couple of weeks ago, I chanced upon the news that #Kaala was releasing in my city. Having enjoyed the 4 am show at Vettri for #Kabali, I was quite eager to watch it early and part with any ticket price. The better half being extremely understanding as ever, offered to take care of the kid while I booked for the film alone (like before J). I was forced to settle for an 8 pm show (one of only 2 shows scheduled for my city) on the First Day of release. Having somehow abstained from watching the trailer or hearing the songs or reading the early reviews from India, I went in to the screen and took a seat near the centre, in the penultimate row.
No trailers and no ads – the film started and as the immortal title sequence proclaiming “Super Star Rajini” started playing, I could not whistle as I normally would, even though my fingers were in position. I was gasping for breath as I felt transported back to those numerous films back in Chennai, like how Anton Ego was as he tasted the Remy’s #Ratatouille, with my eyes becoming wet involuntarily. As cinematic and unbelievable as it may sound, THAT was how much I missed watching a Tamizh film in the midst of an animated crowd cheering with gusto. In spite of that euphoric feeling lasting only 160 odd minutes, I came home Happy & Complete!
எனை மாற்றும் காதலே!!!
Column written by Anand Sethuraman.