“Alaipayuthey” at 20: The eternal sadness of “Evano Oruvan”


She looks at him and he looks back in slow motion – as if everything else was frozen for two seconds when her eyes met. They are strangers on a train and had never known the other’s distant existence, except once when they had a flirting exchange of words at a wedding.

Their paths never crossed, not until that day.

“Could it be love?” her older sister wonders loudly and makes it visibly uncomfortable for her to think about this topic. “How do you fall in love with someone at first sight? It’s completely stupid, ”she replies.

But the sister knows.

His heart beats for her and says that she is THE one. “You don’t even know their name. It’s not love, it’s lust,” says his friend and stands up for Freud’s belief. But he’s partly right. How can he find her in the seven million inhabitants of the city? not only good looking, but also in the head. He is a software developer; he makes some permutations and combinations and limits himself to one number: 70 girls out of the seven million. The next day he arrives at the train station and looks for them in a sea of ​​faces She catches him red-handed, but embarrasses her face.

The next day she comes to the station just to be greeted with a mischievous smile. This time she is looking for him. It casts fleeting glances at itself, which intensify when the train departs on the parallel route. “Didn’t I tell you? He’s not here,” she says.

But he is there and carefully studies her nervousness from a distance. She notices his presence and bites her lip to hide the smile that is trying to escape. But he breaks into a smile with a full prosthesis when “Sakiye” appears gently in the background and also puts a fleeting smile on our faces.

Karthik and Shakthi, the playful, mischievous couple Alaipayutheyhave been married for 20 years. Of course, they still have their stupid struggles for little things. But I suspect that their love for each other has only grown over the years.

Alaipayuthey is Mani Ratnam’s second film in a trilogy, which I would like to call “generation romance” Mouna Ragam and ended with OK Kanmani14 years apart from each of these films. Pinched in between Dil Se and Kannathil Muthamittal in Mani Ratnam’s filmography Alaipayuthey has become the textbook definition of millennial romance for various reasons. It was and is a wonderful film that examines the dynamics of a young couple after marriage.

There are several perspectives – his narrative style, his class policy and how each song was different in terms of sound, and so on – you can specifically choose and write about it on its 20th anniversary. But I thought I was going to talk about the sadness that runs through the great shot of “Evano Oruvan” which I think is a defining moment in the film that is the building block in Karthik-Shakthi’s relationship.

A well-structured song can be used as a powerful tool to convey the emotional complexity of characters. Mani Ratnam was perhaps one of the earliest to recognize his potential and has consistently set new standards in painful and lengthy “writing” and staging songs.

Let’s break down “Evano Oruvan” into Stanislavski’s method by looking at two essential aspects of the drama: super target and beat. As far as I know, the super goal is the ultimate goal of the scene that the director gets to by moving a series of pictures and giving it an arc and a conclusion. Beat is the subliminal emotion that runs through the background of the scene and drives the narrative to achieve the super goal.

The super goal in “Evano Oruvan” is this: the hero’s conviction to find his love for women – which later became the recurring motif in Gautham Menon’s films. And the beat? Sadness or sadness or longing. In this context, there are countless ways to achieve the super goal. But Mani Ratnam does this by providing a rare perspective of what Shakthi deals with internally in less than five minutes. Because the song is shot from Shakthi’s perspective and gives us a wide view of a variety of thoughts that go through her head. It’s hard to do this exercise without mentioning the overwhelming contribution of Vairamuthu, the man accused of sexual misconduct by several women in the # MeToo movement in 2018.

Someone out there is playing the music.

I enjoy it in the dark.

In this state of trance, I am full of thoughts.

But it’s gradually growing on me.

Shakthi shook hands and broke away from Karthik after a violent exchange of words between their respective parents. But the sadness is great when she is brought to Cannanore for an aid camp. We learn to understand Shakthi in “Evano Oruvan” much better. She is torn between Karthik and family, and the song is a visual description of her oscillating mind.

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But a song is only half effective without adding graphics. The blank pictures in “Evano Oruvan” show Shakthi in isolation and there are indications of a storm – this could be Karthik as the Madhavan scene arrives in Cannanore. There is sadness in their eyes and the somber tone seems to indicate that there is sadness in the frames as well. Both go through individual journeys in the song, while the flute towers over the crescendo. Heavy rain comes because Karthik is only a few centimeters from Shakthi. He finally discovers them over a bridge. But we still haven’t achieved the super goal. And then there is another wonderful line:

I would have gone back a long time without this music.

The music on the screen gradually fades out and focuses on the emotions. Shakthi looks at someone. We know that it is Karthik. A whirlwind of thoughts must have occurred to her, but she bursts into tears. If you notice, Karthik descends the bridge to meet Shakthi. She is delighted with his conviction and the first question: “Why did you need it? This Would you like to find me? “

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The super goal is reached and the hero ends his journey.

When everything comes together – from texts, music, performance, visuals to editing – it brings with it a certain aesthetic quality. Mani Ratnam’s songs are paintings with light.