Tag: director visu

Ala Vaikunthapurramloo

As The Swivel Chair Spins #6

Just a week after Visu’s demise, I saw Ala Vaikuntapuramlo which is the 2020 version of a Visu film. 

Had he seen it? Had he commented on it? I’ll never know. 

It is really a familiar set up of a change maker (Visu by default) who enters into a family, observes their problems (usually they dont get together) and solves it for them. 

Happy families are alike. Unhappy families (especially in Visu films) are unhappy in their own way. 

But here, director Trivikram Srinivas is greatly helped by lead actor Allu Arjun (Bantu) who seems to have built in to power a large mansion for at least a year. 

That mansion is Vaikunta Puram. 

Where a husband won’t speak to his wife. A son constantly disappoints his father to the level of doubting his birth (and rightly so) and a couple of good for nothing relatives and a scheming co worker (Murali Sharma is brilliant). 

Classic family set up. 

But Bantu by himself is a very well developed character, invested to the level of announcing to the audience what his “mannerism” is. Bantu is also developed using the one rule character development- he believes that telling the truth at all times is the best rather than lying. 

Obviously, this creates the main conflict when he is faced with his ultimate truth. 

Even though this is the most recent fun I have had streaming something, the movie by itself is not without problems- there is a paper thin villain and of course the women in Vaikuntapuram are criminally under developed- Pooja Hegde gets to be a start-up entrepreneur who gets tongue tied while speaking to an investor (?) and Tabu barely gets the scene, we only know about her from other characters. Nivetha Pethuraj doesn’t even get that. Most of the critical decisions are made and agreed upon by the men, even those who were at fault.

Yeah that’s a big paragraph, now let me shoot it back to say that this movie does not operate in any immediate reality, these constructs only exists in the mind of screenwriters a sense of hyper unreality as seen in the fights, dances, relationships etc- but they have managed to keep a family film at the core and still sell it, that’s really admirable. Add to this with Telugu cinema’s fascination with epics like the Ramayana. 

And heroine’s character name is Ammu, what’s not to like about that? I mean…

This streamed well. 

On Visu

Was dreading this for sometime. Writer-director-actor Visu no more

His films were the first I could sense a real director’s touch, later I came to realize the confidence he had in his plots and characters as a screen and dialogue writer, no matter what criticism was kept against him. Like a mother he would defend his films till his death.

Visu had his own way to show the problems of the middle class even when KB was still making movies. (KB even produced some of Visu’s works). KB made ‘better’ movies (Visu would probably disagree), KB approached it from the head, while Visu would bring his bleeding heart. It wasn’t just sentimentality, but also with humor.

In a video on what makes a great movie, critic Mark Kermode noted that how words like sentimentality and humor where not used in the charitable sense by movie critics because movie criticism was purely treated as an intellectual enterprise. Emotions were not treated as part of the craft.

In my view Visu was most disadvantaged by this, he did not receive the appreciation for his craft, when he needed it the most.

Critics would carry KB to another generation, but Visu would be largely ignored by critics, but even more by his audience, whom he lost to either apathy or television.

Even at the earliest viewing of Kudumbam oru Kadambam I could see that Visu was not offering solutions- the movie was basically a debate on whether men should marry women who worked or women who stayed at home. The movie really stacks up arguments on both sides and the solution is left to the characters themselves- it depended on that family.

I still think this is one of the most mature ways to approach a domestic issue and by the time we come to the end I would have cried and laughed a dozen times.

Visu had made me see these characters as he had seen them or created them, I think this by itself is the greatest achievement for any creator. Visu sir, you rocked in your time.

The TV which depleted his audience did some good deeds by fate or design by repeatedly showing his movies which made it possible for me to catch it, enjoy it repeatedly. Yes they had some issues in quality, but never in confidence or the lack of color in characters.

Kudumbam Oru Kadambam.
Dowry Kalyanam
Varavu Nalla Uravu
Manal Kayiru

These are his movies that made an immense impact personally and of course he wrote Simla Special which for me is the gold standard in friendship movies in Tamil Cinema.

He would have liked to have read this perhaps, but alas I should have written earlier. Obits don’t matter to those for whom it is intended.

As an affected party (audience), the first duty towards a creator is a mere acknowledgment and I am guilty of being late and I will do more to write about his films.

Go well Visu sir. Om Shanti.

Vartuthapadala, vendapadala, kavalapadale, perumapadren to be your fan Visu Sir