cinema cinema:tamil

They Who Need Not Be Named

Parking Lot Notes 2: Maanagaram


Adhavadhu(that is…),
humanity’s greatest achievement is not the great wall of china or moon landing or the moon landing tapes, but cities.

We weren’t meant to live in caves, or in forests or spend our lifetimes working with crops and pests and pesticides, notice how we came from all that into this density of human life, simply called the city.
(Density, city rhymes, +5 marks, self evaluation as they say in some industries)

But not everyone, mostly not those originally from a city seem to like life in one, they prefer rural silence to urban violence, the slow pace to a rat race. Also non-citizens (here meant to denote those not from a city) tend to think that there is some sort of moral loss that happens in a city and that this loss is communicable.

Mainly this idea has been spread by Tamil(also others?) cinema.

Innumerable movies talk about the helping tendencies of the rural-ites, their hardworking-ness and their ever helpful nature. Cities however are the polar opposite, if a village can be compared to the character of a hero, then a city is the serial rapist villain who has bald thug named ‘Peter’ who spits Pan Parag in railway ticket counter corners.


Like all things in reality, cities are inescapable, for me they represent human life at its aggregated best; a place where differences blur because everyone is pushing against each other towards an unknown center.

Without cities, we would be even distant islands of self image and comfort. Without cities we would still be somebody. See, because one of the best things that a city offers you is anonymity!

Like rain water, sewage etc etc making it to the sea, we all make it to the city.

It doesn’t matter who we are and where we are from.

Maanagaram is what knowledgeable people call a hyperlink film in which multiple characters pursue their own stories but are united in the core theme of the film, which is ofcourse about the city.

But wait, this is not Ayutha Ezhuthu, this is better( hi to all Madras Talkies), with much likeable characters, pulsating music, open your mouth in amazing disbelief kind off opening titles, swear words and their social context, broken beer bottle into your neck kind off action and generally Chennai by night( which is the biggest plus)

Underneath all this is a thread of that of the kindness of strangers, how far will someone go for another man(or woman); invisibly connecting all the characters that inhabit this city, I mean film.

Maanagaram, one of the best films out there this year ( coughs and says Gaudam, “what does your instict say”) not only because of its extreme filmmaking and exciting characters but also because Maangaram gives the best that every big city offers: anonymity

Untill next time.


{Parking Lot notes initially appeared as a Facebook post somewhere}

3 replies on “They Who Need Not Be Named”

Liked it quite a bit. I watched like 2 films all of lats year, so I am hopelessly out of touch on how ‘films these days’ are.
So some of what I liked may have become par-for-the-course now, which is a good thing.

After sleeping on it for a couple of days, methinks it was a bit too clever, far too many convenient happenstances. But the film glided on top of that with a series of interesting moments/acting. Was particularly impressed about how the film truly cut across comedy, thrill-brutality across intercuts within a sequence. Quite a risk.

Charlie being brutally assaulted while the faux-Gangster fumbles about. Just keeping them in different locales insulates the mood for the audience who is being taken to and fro – as if mood consistency simply does not matter!

It struck me as excitingly novel.
(this is exactly the kind of thing which I am not sure has been quite par-for-the course now).

The last time I recall something akin to this was in Vishnuvardhan’s promising (sigh!) debut: arindhum ariyAmalum. The first fight is shown in bits as Kutty (Arya) is describing shot by shot to Sangili Murugan. Pretty much forsaking the rush of the chase and fight, for expositioning a character – Kutty.

Bala does something of this sort in Pithamagan, to hilarious effect. When Sithan is beating up the warden, Sakthi is listening to the radio- Pattathu Rani (song from Sivantha Mann). Mouthing Kanchana’s audible winces for Sivaji’s whiplashes, when Sithan lands his brutal blows and the warden is howling in pain!

Of course, there is much difference between that and what we see in Maanagaram, சும்மா ஒரு இதுக்குச் சொன்னேன்.


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