Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sufi Paranja Katha

I watched this Malayalam movie called Sufi Paranja Katha.I really do not know how to review this movie, but I wanted to put across my observations any way.

The beginning of the movie increases your curiosity about the story line and I guess sets very high expectations. Since a majority of my readers are not Malayalees, I think, I will attempt to write out the story line. I still do not know if I have got the logic of the movie correct, but let me try.

The movie begins on a beautiful sea shore on a bright morning. The waves lashing on the shore gives you the feeling that the sea has a very big role to play in the story. A young writer is in town for the first time and meets this old man who starts narrating the life history of the renowned lady in the town. The whole movie is a flash back and I expected a lot of tears in the movie. Thankfully, the director spared us all from tears and contributed to some amount of confusion.

Karthyaayani, fondly known as Karthi was the little princess of this palatial home in a small town in Kerala. She lived in the palace with her mother, maternal uncle and grandmother. She was a staunch devotee of the Goddess patronized by the ancestors of the palace and was seen to have all the grace of the divine bestowed on her. As a child, she never believed in castes and had no discrimination in her mind between castes and religions. To her, all human beings were alike and she never bothered about the prevalent caste discrimination in her town. The movie shows every detail of the little princess growing up into a beautiful, graceful, attractive young woman.

The uncle tried to keep off this young lady for his personal reasons, the grandmother reached God's abode, and the mother was forever busy with her responsibilities and the young lady started feeling very lonely. At this point in time in her life, a young man who followed a different faith came to the palace from another town on a business trip. He had to stay there for sometime and Karthi's uncle agreed to let out the palace's guest house ( whatever they called a guest house in olden days ) for a brief time period. In an era where ladies did not talk much to men, Karthi was seen to spend a lot of time talking to this business man. The uncle who had seen signs of love interests between the two was worried, but did not attempt to take any action. One night, on a telepathic instinct, the uncle watched the couple leave the palace.

Karthi changed her practices, her attire and her name to get married to this business man. They both stayed happily married, until one fine day she found an idol of a Hindu Goddess in her garden. She locked the idol safely in an urn. The movie showed some super natural effects at times causing some confusion as to the motive of some shots. Karthi's husband was head-over-heels in love with her. He asked her if there was anything she felt was missing in her new home and promised to do his best to see it happen. Karthi told him that she was missing her prayer room and idol worship. So, he arranged for a temple ( according to him it was a small room outside the house) to be built in the garden where Karthi could go and offer prayers in her own way to her Goddess. He saw it as just another form of prayer as Karthi also followed prayers in the new faith. It was just that she did not want to miss her own prayer practices. It was nice to see the broad-mindedness there, which rarely is seen these days.

All said, the town's staunch non-Hindus revolted against the idea of a temple in a non-Hindu house. This affected the business man's life badly. He had a lot of admirers and well wishers who would not dare to hurt him because he was known to be one of the nicest persons in the town. However, there were some people from other towns who could not accept the idea of the temple in a non-Hindu's garden. The professional and social hit slowly delved into his personal life and he stopped talking to Karthi. When Karthi was back in her loneliness sphere, her uncle came visiting her. From his attire we come to know that he had resorted to sainthood. He came to inform Karthi of her mother's demise. When he left, lonliness hit Karthi badly.

Instincts or super-natural power or some unknown incomprehensible emotion - cannot place which one - tells Karthi one fine day that the summon her husband received from the Mayor was false. She tried her best to stop him from going to the town to meet the Mayor. He neglects her words and just leaves. At the Mayor's office, a group of staunch believers of his faith kill him.

Karthi prays for him at her house in an unusual hour of the day surprising her sister-in-law. Then she walks to the beach and straight into the sea. The sea did play a role in the movie and the sea waves lashed the shore at dusk.

The movie ends there saying all the men who killed her husband also died in the storm that night. In memory of this young lady, the town's non-Hindus built a memorial. Every day a lot of people came there to offer prayers. The young writer had also come to offer prayers to the memorial.

Now, that might sound like a pointless useless piece of work. Still, I am unable to dismiss it off that way. I do see a lot of disconnect in the movie and its story line and direction, but an another thought makes me think that I am not so used to art movie kind of makes, which usually leave a lot to the audience's understanding.

The few songs in the movie add a nice touch to some scenes. I assume that it was Chitra's voice. I could not read Malayalam, so the music director's name is unknown in this review. I do not recall the artist's names either. You have the Internet to get all this information, so I leave it at that.

My take :

Sufi Paranja kadha is an artistic make with a mixed bag of Beauty,Love,Religion,Platonic vs. Romantic feelings,Traditional look and Modern thoughts, Natural vs. Supernatural powers, leaving your mind confused. You cannot hate the movie or cannot completely love the movie. It must have been intended to be a good attempt, but I think it failed to make a mark on the audience.

If you are looking for comedy, cheerful music then this is not the right pick.
If you are looking for a movie to analyze, then I think this one is good enough.
If you are inclined to society and its present day stress, you might have some insights from the movie.
If you are a psychologist, you will understand the movie well.
If you are a responsible parent, you might want to watch this movie alone just to understand how 'All is fair in love and war'.
Do not let your children watch this movie anytime till they turn 20.

So much of human psychology is involved in this movie that someone who is inclined to or knows some psychology will be able to rate it better than I did.

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