I watched the Tamil movie “Sindhu Samaveli” by Swamy yesterday. I had never heard of the movie nor the diretor prior to reading about it yesterday in some forum and deciding to watch it. The movie is based on the novel “First Love” by the Russian author Ivan Turgenev. The movie is about an illicit relationship a woman has with her father in law. Apparently the heroine of the movie, Amala Paul, received death threats and was hurled abuses at by some women in public for the mere reason that she “enacted” the role of a woman who sleeps with her father in law. I guess the audience in many parts do not understand the basic fact that a movie is a work of fiction. Simple misses.
As I always opine post a movie watch, I strongly believe a movie conveys the brilliance of the Director. It is his work of art and talks a lot about his grit, his ability to articulate and his influences (among much more). Here, the director’s mind is easily concluded to be able to run through excessively intense human emotions and get to the base of it. He must have gone through (atleast in his mind if not in experience) a greal deal of the emotions that he so strongly conveys through his film. Everyone goes through intriguing emotions at some point of time in our lives. Sometimes we get deep flashes of the emotions through the experiences of a loved one. But how many of us are blessed with the ability to decode it and understand it? (Here I would like to point out that the use of the word “understand” is meant to carry more depth than usual).
Director Swamy has done an excellent work of placing the premise of the illicit relationship so well in the movie. Clearly if you are even fairly intelligent, you will understand that he is not showing any disrespect towards a father(like)-daughter(like) relationship we expect a father in law and daughter in law to share. He simply presents a particular circumstance in which such a relationship grows mutually between the parties and very strongly also presents its extreme ramifications. It is sexual and it did start with the inability to control a forbidden human desire. He does not however fail to also show a wise man’s perspective of the situation (through dialogues with the family carpenter/mason). But what I liked about even that scene is that it did not throw light on simply the societal implications of such a relationship. But that conversation very simply mentions all the turmoil that it creates in the lives of the individuals concerned. How that should not fall upon any family ever.
Further, the movie does not slip into an overdramatic and emotionally explosive mode when the son gets wind of the relationship. Well here is where the directors capability comes through – the female protogonist becomes aware of the fact that her husband is aware of her relationship through a beautiful written short story by her husband (and published in a magazine) in which he introspects into his suspicions in the light of his love for her and her father. It is enough to trigger that big moment of regret and disgust in her and she proceeds immediately to put an end to the entire suffering. Now the son needs to deal with his father wherein once again the Director proves his skill. It is by far probably the best scene in the film and is fittingly the climax. No drama. Not too many dialogues. But using the ocean as the backdrop, the anger, anguish and the killing realisation that the young boy experiences is beautifully shot like a painful painting. At this point, I was itching to lay my hands on the book to read (in the typicaly russian writing style) the author’s narration.
I am not sure how much of the storytelling is a direct life from the book. To me, as a viewer, it doesnt matter where it came from and but I am there to watch what is given to me. To get a glimpse of something so dark just to remind you of how fragile humans can be. How people commit mistakes knowing how wrong it is and how it is only a circumstantial temptation. But say what you may, such wrongful acts only lead to death. Physical death. Death of relationships. Death of every strand of life in the living body. So much more. Its unfathomable. Draining to even imagine that emotion in you for a second. Thats when you respect the director, the story teller, whoever. Unless he pushed himself to experience the various emotions in the deepest corners of his existence to make this movie, he may probably have never bared it all as this and been able to show a build up to human follies as this.
(Ofcourse he could have done without the annoying frequent comedy interludes that is menace in movies these days. Just to get the people in. Well this movie didnt since as I said earlier people do not really know that a movie is a work of fiction)
Apparently the viewers took to the movie very badly. How dare the director even imagine an illicit relationship between father in law and daughter in law? Worse still, i hear many reviewers refused to give the movie a rating. Uff. When do we all wake up to realities? Stating a fact that could even remotely exist is entirely different from justifying it. When will people ever gain that insight? Hey, its not that difficult. Just a little open mindedness. But that IS too much to ask of the world today right? Right. A man lacking in intelligence will point out how the movie so visibly shows the wrong in the relationship. The Director hasnt left any stone unturned to show the grave impact it has on the young son. And on the wife. And on the father. What wrong did the director do here? I can only conclude that people really lack logic and simple sense of derivation. Truly wonder how much of the rejection of the movie stemmed from guilt and from complete lack of acknowledgement. I leave it to you to conclude on the guilt and acknowledgement.