Serial blogger D. Keith Robinson has some suggestions for overcoming writer’s block. The simplest idea is: write. The rationale behind this is the fact that if you keep on writing, even if it is something silly, the mind will soon overcome the block and words will flow. Unfortunately, Balachandran (Mammotty) who is working in a fertilizer plant, where almost every visitor expresses the desire to throw up due to the smell, is not seen trying any of Robinson’s tips.
He had partially written a novel, which according to the famous novelist CP (Nedumudi Venu in a cameo), could change the Malayalam literary landscape. On hearing this Shivadasan (Mukesh), a small publisher tags along Balachandran, to convince him to finish the novel. He lives in a lodge, surrounded by his books, in a kind of cocoon.
His interactions with the external world are limited. When asked once why he does not own a cell phone, he retorts, “I have no one to call and no one to call me.” He never talks to others in the lodge, except for the boy-cum-caretaker Babu. He sends money to a Muslim girl about whom he had read in the newspaper. He also has a person who takes care of his land.
This small world changes when he gets a phone call from an college mate Padma (Khushboo) and some old memories are triggered. This plus Shivadasan’s prodding results in Balachandran taking up his pen. As the novel progresses, he gets more out of his shell, expresses human emotions explicitly and makes progress on his relationship.
As the movie moves to the climax, with Balachandran selling his land and carrying Rs. 3 lakhs, and going to Calicut with the money and his finished novel, terrorists strike. At this point we were shocked because there was such an impedance mismatch between the story so far and the climax.
This brings up the dilemma. The writer’s block, overcoming the writer’s block, the life of a writer – all those have been done perfectly. Though not novelists, but as people who read a lot and try to write something, these are dilemmas we identify with. So Balachandran’s predicament resonated with us.
The terrorism angle – we have friends who survived Mumbai blasts and train bombs — too resonated with us. The problem was with the connection between the two. In fact Ranjith, tries to make the connection – somewhere Shivadasan tells his wife that Balachandran’s novel is a great work of black humor on communalism. But in fact there is nothing in the movie which shows why Balachandran is affected by it – he never mentions any communal incident, he is never seen reading about it or discussing anything communal with anyone. When the policemen make fun of a Balachandran helping a Muslim girl, he seems clueless, unable to understand the situation. When such a person claims to be writing a novel about communal problems, it seems hollow.
Alfonso Cuarón‘s Y tu mamá también , is an example of one movie with multiple layers of narration – there is a road trip, and there is a commentary on the economic situation in Mexico. To Cuarón‘s credit, he blends them well, right from the beginning. This makes the movie memorable, though some might argue that it is the sex scenes that make the movie memorable. The point we are tying to make is that in such movies you don’t spring up a surprise, like in the climax of a CBI movie. In fact in Kathavaseshan , T K Chandran did a better job in justifying Dileep’s behavior, to the point of making it contrived.
Ratheesh seems to be the only one who has has seen through this:
Renjith has made the script as a series of patchworks with all good intentions to emphasize his “message” again and again, like some programs in school youth festivals. So, a kind-hearted Hindu helps a poor Muslim, an honest Muslim takes care of the property of a Hindu, and so on. The effort to add a “feel-good” factor related to “Love”, “Bridging between Religions” etc. pops up every now and then in the film. Mammootty tries hard to look truly like a sensitive and introvert writer, and adds a touch of uniqueness in the character, at least externally, by attaching certain mannerisms to Balachandran.
That said, we have to note that Ranjith has not fallen for the 80s standard of art movie making, where if there is a shot of one man walking 1km, the camera is turned on for the entire duration. He has dispensed with that level of pretentiousness and made the movie reasonably well paced.
Still when we see movies like Kaiyoppu, it just fails to connect in a memorable way like the Hindi movie A Wednesday which tackled the issue of terrorism in a brilliant, honest, non-boring way.
(Image via IndiaGlitz)