A thread on the Tamil film 'Doctor' by Nelson Dilipkumar. At the heart of it, 'Doctor' is essentially an extended lollu sabha episode. But it becomes novel to the Tamil audience in how Nelson Dilipkumar places it in a Wes Anderson-esque world.
Nelson, who has already claimed to be a huge fan of Anderson borrows from the American filmmaker's sense of mean humour, deadpan delivery and even repeatedly frames the locations symmetrically and places the characters at the dead centre. All Wes Anderson trademark punches.
While 'Doctor' is mostly a laugh riot, it stays more true to the lollu sabha universe than the Wes Anderson world. Nelson's characters might be emotionally stunted, goofy and childish, like the men in Anderson's films.
But Nelson isn't able to build the emotional redemption that Anderson offers to his characters towards the end. That's because Nelson hasn't really tried to write unique characters here. But has just focused on the funny lines and their delivery.
Which is why the film works beautifully as long as it has a joke to share. But the moment it has no joke to offer or when it wants to slide into emotional or serious territory, it jars and starts revealing its deep flaws.
The strength of 'Doctor' lies in its motley crew of smaller actors who are very similar to a lollu sabha troupe expect the humour delivery here is deadpan unlike the loudness of the Vijay TV show. Am not sure if Sivakarthikeyan really adds anything remarkable to the film.
Nelson has used him very similar to what Mysskin did with Udhayanidhi Stalin in 'Psycho'. So at best, it seems Nelson roped him in to purely help with the ticket sales.

Vijay Kartik Kannan's cinematography also seems to borrow from Wes Anderson's world.
But am not sure if they really understood it right or borrowed effectively. Because while the cinematography here is unique, it is also sweepingly inconsistent and seems quite thoughtless in how it shifts moods or styles.
But it certainly offers a visual quality not seen much in Tamil cinema.

Apart from his funny lines, Nelson's remarkableness lies in how he is able to work effectively with stars who are average or below-average actors.
Both Nayanthara, as in 'Kolamaavu Kokila' and Sivakarthikeyan here have interesting screen presence but are bland actors. Nelson writes them into characters that are by default emotionless and expressionless and plays with their strengths. Or rather their weaknesses.
But then, what makes 'Doctor' work in spite of these inconsistencies are its jokes and how they land on you at the most unexpected of times.

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More from @rajamanirajesh

25 Jul
A thread on @beemji's 'Sarpatta Parambarai'.

'Sarpatta Parambarai' was a delightful film and is probably Pa Ranjith's best.
It was unbelievable how the films works well on so many levels - boxing drama, socio-cultural documentation, commentary on Tamilnadu politics during emergency and in-between all this, Ranjith also manages to infuse his own metaphorical take on the Dravidian politics.
'Sarpatta Parambarai' could easily be the most cohesive Tamil film where so many characters with contradicting motives remain remarkable irrespective of their screen time.
Read 14 tweets
16 Jul
On the Tamil film 'Vaazhl'.

Arun Prabu Purushothaman's film plays to the post-liberalized Indian society where there is an increased romanticized notion of how travelling could change one's life. But at its best, 'Vaazhl' looks only like a tourism video.
And at its worst, it is an incoherent mess of pop-philosophical mumbo jumbo.

If you realize, in the pre-globalized 70s or 80s, the only ones who could afford long distance travel were the very rich.
Or the middle classes working in PSUs who could avail the LTC once in two years. For the rest, travelling at best meant going to the nearest beach or hill station.

But post liberalization, the new breed of IT workers had lot more money to splurge.
Read 25 tweets
3 Jul
Wrote this last October - on Achal Mishra's 'Gamak Ghar' and Leena Manimekalai's 'Maadathy, an Unfairy Tale'.

It seemed like a strange coincidence to watch both these films on the same day, because they tell stories of people at the two extreme ends of the caste hierarchy.
Mishra's film is about a Brahmin household or rather house. A gentle tale of the most privileged group in a caste society, but told with lot of empathy and endearment. The film runs like a series of poignant Instagram images, which I think is deliberately intended.
Because the movie does try to posture itself as a family photo album that you revisit with a sense of overwhelming nostalgia. The characters and the house are humanized and even romanticized.
Read 16 tweets
20 Jun
The case of actor Chetan Kumar and actor Siddharth

Kannada actor Chetan Kumar has been speaking and writing the politics of Dr. Ambedkar and Periyar in recent times. And in response to it, the Karnataka State Brahmin Development Board has filed police complaints against him.
In one occasion, he has mentioned that he too comes from a privileged caste. But still, there is hardly any solidarity extended to him from the liberal Brahmin-Savarnas. Instead, his comments have been appreciated primarily by Bahujans.
But someone like actor Siddharth who mocks Modi immediately receives nation wide appreciation from liberal Brahmin-Savarnas and becomes an overnight sensation.
Read 5 tweets
17 Jun
I noticed that a lot of Bahujans have been articulating and defending reservations in recent times. And the frequency with which this has been happening has reached manifold since Clubhouse got popular. (1/7)
It is something I have also done in varying degrees until I got to read @Anoopkheri bhai. Reading him made me realize what an utter waste of time it is to defend reservations and why Savarnas want you to repeatedly perform this defending act. (2/7)
Here is an excerpt from @Anoopkheri bhai's speech. You can read the entire speech from the RTI link at the end of this thread. (3/7)
Read 7 tweets
9 Jun
A thread on the politics of 'Family Man - Season 2'.

(Fairly long, so bear with me!)

The creators of 'Family Man - Season 2' might be South Indians, but the series essentially panders to the insecurities of the North Indian Brahmin man - both at home & the nation.
At a household level, the Brahmin protagonist is living in an almost dead marriage. However hard he tries, his wife seems to block him out & he is unable to ignite any intimacy in the relationship. His wife probably slept with her colleague.
To compensate for what is lacking at home, he unleashes his aggression & focus at work as a TASC agent.
Read 25 tweets

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