Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom - wait, what happened?


Bugs, Saras and Bhaji have a problem - their friend, Prem, fell over while playing cricket the day before his wedding, and as result of a concussion, now fails to recall events that happened up to a year ago. Since Prem shows no signs of having a miraculous recovery, the three friends are forced to keep up the charade throughout his wedding day, making sure the marriage goes through, even when Prem fails to recall his bride, much less what happened six minutes ago.

I have to confess I was more charmed by Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom (A few pages missing in between, 2012) than I actually enjoyed the experience of watching it. The low-fi aesthetic demonstrates the smaller budget, and in some ways it's very clear that this is the first directorial venture of Balaji Tharaneetharan, who found his story from actual events that happened to his friend (the film's cinematographer, C. Prem Kumar). This is, in many ways, the little film that could, and I really like that about it - a small budget venture that became a cult classic.

With that said, I'm not sure most of the comedy carried over through the translation process. The conceit of the film is to be repetitive - Prem repeats certain things as he instantly forgets what he said, or what has been told to him, and it can be hard to make the same lines gain meaning or comedy through repetition. At times, there's a scene where they succeed in this, and the situational comedy is fantastic because of it - mostly on the latter half of the film. But for the most part, the repetitiveness of both the dialogue and the reaction shots can get a bit dull, and I wonder whether this is where being a native Tamil speaker would've helped. The only subtitles I could find, in a perfect demonstration of how unavailable Tamil films can be to outsiders, were fan-made, but as such, they weren't exactly flawless.

I'm forced to give this a very lukewarm recommendation. I didn't dislike it, but I fear the praise I'd read for it online was so high, it failed to meet it. Still, I'm very happy that alongside bombastic big budget films, Tamil cinema can also produce these smaller, indie gems. 

1 comment:

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