Sunday, 20 May 2018

Under The Spot Light: Sughamaai Subbulakshmi (SSL)

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It’s May and I can’t believe this is going to be my first Tamil film review of the year. With the ban of release of India Tamil Films for a couple of months and my decision not review Malaysian Tamil Films means I have had limited chances to do so.

I have always said that if a film director is open enough to accept an unbiased review which may criticize or praise his/her film, then I will do it shall they ask him and I am truly thankful for Karthik Shamalan for being open with the idea of his film being reviewed. I present to you Boggler Blogger 1
st Tamil Film Review of the year, Sughamaai Subbulakshmi (SSL)

Story Review

SSL is a film that any audience can easily relate their life to when they watch the film. It’s the story of a young man who comes from a broken family and gets tangled into 2 women who offers him two very different form of love.

One woman loves and cares him like a mother would which he has been missing out from and the second is a woman who loves him and empowers him to pursue his passion. How this young man makes a decision to pick one woman when both them are amazing to him in their own way.

If you were to reflect back in your life, I am sure you would have found yourself to be in a situation exactly like the lead character of SSL. It may not be love, but you would have been in a position to make a decision when all your options are correct. This is why SSL is a film that will connect with you on an instance and stay in your heart forever.

What makes SSL even more beautiful for me was the way the family portion was explored. The relationship and dynamics of the lead character with his brother and his sister in law is something to treasure. I wouldn’t lie to you if a couple of scene brought the tear out of me.

Apart from love and family, SSL explores the theme of friendship and it’s loyalty in a very cute and funny manner between the lead character and his best friend. Once again, that storyline will allow you to connect easily between you and your best friend and the extent you guys will go for each other to make sure that the other person is happy.

In a nutshell, SSL is a beautiful eye opening experience that everyone should experience in cinema and your perspective of life and love will change once you come out of the cinema.

On the downside, in terms of story the one part which didn’t impress me much was the character and depth played by Karnan G Crack. I didn’t feel enough was done to establish the justification to have this character in the film. I feel that character could either be totally omitted else given more depth, not just a surface layer kind of role like this.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Director Review
Karthik Shamalan

Hands down, my favorite Malaysian director. I don’t know if there is much more I can say on a personal level to compliment this amazing film maker. Coming to this film, first of well done on coming up with the idea of SSL. Writing a story is one challenge, but to execute it in a manner so beautiful and easily connectable to the audience is an art of its own. Well done.

Big credit again to you in terms of the dialogue of the film. There were so many lines in the film that struck me so hard and I think my personal favorite that tops my head the moment is this line, “Ithe 10 varsham kathe ille Velu.” Wow that line struck me so hard when I was travelling in the character of Velu. Watch the film to understand why that line is so powerful.

Another strong point of the film is the camera work. So much attention to detailing was done and it tells in the output. Characters were within frame, focus was adjust as the camera moves and most importantly the clarity was there. I felt worth it to pay and watch this film.

Thank you Karthik Shamalan for not taking your audience for granted. I am glad youd didn’t give them a half-baked product and waste their money and more importantly their time. SSL was worth my money and time without a doubt.

I particularly enjoyed the characterization of Velan, Bharathiraja and the Subbulakshmi.  It was very beautifully crafted and lots of homework as clearly done to give the characters as much realism as possible. Not to forget the importance and depth given to both Latha and Bupathi who I believed was ever so influential in the way the plot shapes up.

There was two points in the film where I felt a little let down in the film. The first is being the output of the camera quality of the sequence during the “Aasai Kerthanai” song portion. It felt so blur especially during the island sequences compared to the other scenes and disconnected me from what was a very beautiful song. It was song I was looking forward to so much I felt so disconnected and let down.

The second part is the characterization of Bhagya. I am not sure if it was intended for me to dislike her character because I feel she wasn’t the right girl for Velan from the start. If that was the intention of the director, than well done else it was a big letdown for me again in terms of character writing. It is something I will never know I guess.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

The Cast
Saresh D'Seven

Alert, alert!!! There is a new hero in town and he looks set to stay. The one great thing about Malaysian films in the last couple of years is that we are seeing more and more new fresh faces and Saresh comes from this pool. Not just is he a fresh face but also a very talented performer. You are such a welcomed addition.

I was very impressed by your performance Saresh. Throughout the film you did very well in terms of expressing that your character is carrying such unexplainable weight and how it is bugging his life and thought process. I love the way how you brought the character to life with all of Velan’s complexity and burden.

There is so many favorite scene of yours but the best has to be the scene when you break down to tears by the beach with Bharathiraja. So much love and pain was felt in that one scene and you were amazing to convey it. I’m glad it was you who played this role. It has been amazing to watch you and I hope you do more films.

Rating: 4.3/5.0

Punithah Shanmugam

Woman where have you been all this while, why haven’t you acted in any other feature film before. After watching SSL, it is totally justified why you bagged the Best Actress Award in the Norway Film Festival. Such a wonderful talent you were. There is something about Karthik and his selection of heroine. They are always absolutely terrific.

I enjoyed the boldness of your performance and I must admit that the character Subbulakshmi played by you, reflects the dream woman every man would want to date. Huge credit for Karthik in shaping up your character and to you from portraying so elegantly and with much confidence.

You too such be doing more films as lead because you are such a wonderful talent. The scene in the hospital where you expressed all your pressed thoughts and feelings was absolutely brilliant. The whole bus stop sequence was indeed amazing as well. It was a very mature way you played your character and when everything was revealed at the hospital, you stole all the applause. I was awed at that scene. Well done again.

Rating: 4.4/5.0

Kuben Mahadevan

Every film has a character to sparks humor in the film to provide a check and balance to the intensity of the film and to provide a small break and diversion of the film. What differs Bharathiraja which was played by Kuben from most comedy character is that his character has big importance and weightage to the outcome of the story.

As much this “youngster” actor makes you laugh, there are plenty of serious moments where he has a huge input to the scenes and story. It is great that his character was not treat just for laughter but given good depth and influence to the story and Kuben seems deliver the performance with ease like a seasoned actor. Bharathiraja is a type of friend every individual would want in their life and I am sure he will remind you of one of your friends

Rating: 4.1/5.0

Bhagya & Karnan G Crak

Bhagaya plays the first love interest in Velan’s life as Lakshmi. There is a good reason why her character carries bitterness in stopping Velan from pursuing his passion and she does very well to carry that bitterness throughout the film.

It was a character that I didn’t liked, and she played it very well to ensure I didn’t like her character. Well done once again. I don’t know if that was the intention of the director if yes, then credit to him and if no then it is something I felt let down because it was a very pleasant character. Huge shoutout to Yotesri for her excellent work dubbing for this character.

With the limited scope given, I think Karnan does well. He shows once again the bags of talents he has and all the right indication on why he is all set to be a big name in the future.

My biggest let down about this character was that at the beginning I thought he was the brother of Lakshmi, rather than a friend. That was because she kept meeting him at his house at night.

Only towards a certain portion of the film where it was told that he was actually her friend. It didn’t make sense for me that the setting the two characters were brought together reflected that they are actually friends.

Rating: 3.8/5.0

PD Sara, Purani Muthu

I must admit, during the first couple of scenes where PD Sara was in, I honestly thought Karthik Shamalan got his casting so wrong. I felt his performance was out of sort and so poor.

But as the Bupathi character played by him grew in the film, I would go on to eat my words and he turns out to be one of my favourite character in the film. He becomes so pivotal in the film and then steals the shows towards the climax.

Brilliant is an understatement to his quality. I couldn’t be so happy to be proven wrong. It was such a mature and composed performance by PD Sara and you would wish you had someone like his character in your life to guide you.

The unsung hero of the show has to be the Latha played by Purani Muthu, she plays a character who is suffering from cancer and her performance grows stronger and stronger as the cancer gets worse.

You can see it from her performance that the cancer is getting worse. It was that convincing. She plays perhaps the most important bridge in connecting the film to the end and will remain an unsung hero of the story.

Latha seemed like the wisest character among everyone in the plot and saw the ending of the story right from the start. I truly enjoyed her portions

Rating: 4.0/5.0

The Music
Shameshan Mani Maran & Neroshen

One of the biggest strength of this film has to be music. Let it be the songs of Shameshan or Neroshen, they both composed some very soulful music which gives life to the film from scene to scene.

The rendition of Aasai Kerthanai was so lovely and beautiful and it has been on loop on my playlist from the day the songs was released. Initially I wasn’t much a fan of Nyamthana, but when the song comes to life on screen with the situation that goes on the story will hit your soul so heart and I warn you, you may tear at that portion.

My favourite from Neroshen is the Latchiyam Kaithode song, I felt it was so uprising, beautiful and such a soulful track. Both of you guys have been amazing in terms of music score. Excellent work from Shameshan to top what he did in EVT.

Another shoutout has to be directed to Shameshan Mani Maran for his awesome work on the background score. I particularly loved the piano bit version of Aasai Kerthanai as the background score in the scenes and the bit version of Barathiyar’s Chinnanjiru Kiliyeh. It was so beautifully utilized.

Rating: 4.7/5.0

Final Verdict: Oru Sughamaiyane Padam

Final Rating: 4.3/5.0

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