Cinema’s modus operandi can be capsulized in three basic steps – concocting a ship of emotions, warping us within them and then scupper itself. So, as a medium, I believe cinema has been inherently blessed with the ability to educe a reaction or the another from the audience, even if just the shock of the shattering of the world it encapsulates us in.
But there are exceptions, and what this piece emanated from is a duly fascination with coming across one. ‘Piravi’ is the first movie in a long time to leave me speechless. I firmly believe the tone has something to do with it. That to choose nature over plot and characters in the exordium to acclimatize me to the pace of the film (which is of life itself) had something pivotal to do with the hanging feeling of a very non-absence of a cinematic world to play these characters in.
I also feel the actors had something to do with it as well. The way Premji conducts himself throughout the movie makes it impossible to think that he exists outside it, as if his body and this role are as inscrutably bound to each other as destiny to life.
The settings are the final nail in the coffin. I don’t remember the last time where pretendedly, a movie had a cultural identity of its own, which made it feel like it belonged to the place from where it tells the tale. The cut-off locale in Piravi makes everything seem complete and everyone to have an obstinate, sure and self-sufficient place. The brute routines give the appearance of a place which exists beyond the realms of time and space, only bound by peerless ennui.
It was William Wordsworth who put it as succinctly as anyone can, that the child is the father of the man. What Piravi is about at its crux, is the loss of that man. Towards the denouement, there is a scene in a boat which is moving for a multiplicity of reasons, one of which being is that Chakyar is no different from the baby which clings to his mother. His mind has resorted itself to the only comfort that babies know of, which is the stability of love and the least care of who they get it from.
In a recent conversation I had, the question of the importance of art came up. My answer was ‘Every passing day, we look at the harsh realities of life materializing all around us. We see our worst nightmares being the living reality of most. And what do we do ? We look away. Away from all that causes us malaise. And after that, we return back to our bearing of common place individuals in sepulchral cities trying to filch a little more money from each other. This is where art comes in. It forces us to look at the truth, into ourselves, shows us how our morality is nothing but a mere farce, exploits our conscience and aims to change our very nature, to makes us into individuals who sympathize with all and hate none. As Jean Luc-Godard said ‘Cinema is truth 24 frames per second’. Piravi is truth
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