All audience reviews of Paradesi

  • The relentless pursuit of pathos

    Rohit Penumatsa

    Rated 
    2.5
    Desimartini | Updated - August 31, 2013 14:30 PM IST
    4.0DM (472 ratings)
    4.1Critic (10 ratings)

    Verdict - For anyone serious enough to bear with one of our darkest auteurs

    ParadesiWatch trailerRelease date : March 15, 2013



    A filmmaker’s signature starts with the subject matter. And

    there a few who have cared for themselves first and the

    market later. And very few amongst them have lasted, living

    that way. The seriousness of Bala’s productions can be felt

    from the first poster, that first glimpse at what he intends

    on exploring, that rush about a dark and ruthless world in

    production.

     

    Interesting how even though this is Bala’s first time in a

    period setting, the film still retains his usual ambience.

    Isolated landscapes, bare feet protagonists and a continuous

    feed of pathos.

     

    The film, opening to a long tracking shot acquaints us with

    the late 30s of a hamlet in the then Madras constituency. It

    is the story of a group from the hamlet of Saluuru centering

    around Raju (Adharvaa), a sweet, strong and slightly cuckoo

    fellow about 25. Raju spends his time begging or working for

    rice to feed himself and his grandmother, the only family

    he’s got. We are brought in half way through the Raju-

    Rangamma (Vedhika) bitter sweet relationship. Rangamma is

    constantly making fun of Raju’s moderate madness, it actually

    seemed quite cruel after a point.

     

    Half the hamlet takes up an offer to work in a colonized tea

    plantation to escape the famine at home. The Dalari (Jerry)

    that recruits them with false promises is that usual evil of

    a Bala’s film, religious on the face and unforgiving on the

    inside. What was supposed to be an 18 month deal ends up as

    indefinite forced slavery for the group coupled with bad

    living conditions and vicious labour.

     

    The idea of the indefinite span takes its toll on the

    suffering group, all the more on Raju who can’t wait to see

    Rangamma and their love child. Stuck at the plantation, he

    develops a bond with Manikyam (Dhansika), a co-woker and her little girl,

    who have been abandoned there by a husband who escaped from

    the inescapable plantation.

     

    There are also glimpses into the lives of The British who own

    the plantations - womanizing lords and their lives of whiskey

    and neatly dressed women.

     

    As much as I’m proud that Bala picked this historical

    atrocity as his subject, I’m greatly irked by his long drawn

    sequences involving different sorts of suffering and over

    emphasizing it with poignant music. Not that he hadn’t done

    that in the past, but, with this one he was really hell bent

    on the endless pathos and like the excess of anything, it

    often slips into seeming pretentious. The plot setting seemed

    to offer a lot of perspectives which could have been used to

    intensify the stuck nature of the workers, instead the man

    goes for montage after montage of physical agony.

     

    Of the cast Adharvaa and Bala’s new set of character actors

    (Jerry for one) make a distinct mark. Vedhika was one of the

    let downs, she was beautiful, but, she was ruining the preindependence

    aura for me with her traits of today.

     

    Technically, this is Bala’s most ambitious work. The

    cinematography, costumes, make up and the debuting art

    director’s work greatly helped in creating the gone era. Like

    the painful 48 day march to the plantation, the film had epic

    portions reminding us of marches and deserts in films like

    Ben-Hur. 

     

    I’m not sure how I feel about this one, but, I’m sure the

    violent injustice, the epidemics and the first glimpses of

    catholic conversions endured by these plantation workers will

    stay with me for a long time, may be that’s what he wanted.

     

     

    • Storyline
    • Direction
    • Acting
    • Cinematography
    • Music

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  • Rohit Penumatsa

    Rohit Penumatsa

    65 Reviews , 41 Followers
    Rated 2.5August 31, 2013

    The relentless pursuit of pathos

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