War of Worlds
The film when it got released got me intrigued more because of Cheran than of Mysskin. I love cheran as an actor and he looked perfect for this film, with gun. Even though not being a big fan of Mysskin, this film got me intrigued right from the first. I’ve always had apprehensions about his inhuman characters but here I was fine because it appeared to be within limits.
The opening shots were lovely, tracking something which we think of subject but the attention moves from that object to other. For example, the subject turns from sky to Happy New Year lights to bike to people (legs, to be precise) to finally the box. And if you see those people, they were not normal. We see a group of guys digging their head in something and jumping happily. What was that, porn?
The same thing happens in the park next, where we think the camera follows certain person but the attention shifts from that person to another person to another person. We see a young girl sitting in the bench after walking and panting and we tend to think that the story is gonna follow her, again it doesn’t. There is another box.
Similarly once we get to know the flow of story. In tennis court, two young girls enter the court and we see too old aged men giving a voyourish look while they play, do they also belong to the ‘show watching’ category or are they just humans like us who watch porn and feel guilty.
Look how easily Mysskin could evoke sympathy from us through Cheran. That tea barring scene is one of the brilliant scenes of the movie, framed with an auto window. Also the scene in dark where a policeman takes a watermelon from the closed shop. We tend to like these even more because we’ve had enough from these people from these categories. Also see that Cheran is human and weak when he investigates about his sister (of course he overdoes it when he gets a call, typical Myskkin). Is it only because whether it’s his sister or is it because the case has been closed already. Also I loved the downing of his heroism, he’s the best agent they have at that point. Not the best agent of all time. Not James Bond. He is the third choice as the other two are not available to take the case.
And the investigation part, where they try to search for the wrong doers. A lot of film try to show that they too have a family but it hasn’t worked like this for me any time before. Especially the Rajamanickam episode, the grandma was lovely, she looked like the one who would ask how you are doing whenever you cross her Idly stall. Poor soul, with her innocence she couldn’t even find out who’s doing what. Add to it, you see the scene opening with a number of kids peeping at the door.
Also a lot of cinematic techniques used to a great effect. When Cheran chases a murderer on streets, I loved the way his instinct works while he crosses the steps but doesn’t abide by it, then there was a suddenness after seeing the body, post that we could only see the hazy figure of the killer because Mysskin shows him out of focus, like how we’d have seen a person while chasing. And the panting of Cheran was like that of a cop, not letting the people know that he’s tired, not like us who exhibit how exhausted we are. That’s how a professional would behave.
Best of the lot would be scene where Cheran comes to police station to investigate, a scene which Baradwaj Rangan talked about in his film appreciation session, how efficiently he uses light as a tool to use the same sequence for both past and present. Such lovely filmmaking.