Category: International Competition films
Director: Satish and Santosh Babusenan
Running time: 101 minutes
The only film to be screened at IFFK that does not have a censor certificate, Chaayam Poosiya Veedu, featured in the competition section, has been quite the talking point.
In Malayalam, the non-commercial films take on an altogether different character from mainstream films. And the general perception is that reading the genre of non-commercial films is as difficult as making sense of a diglossic language.
When such a film is placed in modern times, one cannot miss the potent mix of cultures and languages that reflect the times today. When such sensibilities come under the scanner, one might either feel distanced from the film, for its way of expression might seem other-worldly, or see it through a new pair of eyes and accommodate parts of it.
Chaayam Poosiya Veedu seems to be that point where the directors indulged in a creative splurge. The film tries to talk to the audience about its intent and purpose, but turns out to be more of a conversation within its structure.
The film has three characters—Gautam aka Guttoo (K. Kaladharan), an established writer who lives by the beach, Vishaya (Neha Mahajan), the girl who visits him, and Rahul (Akram Mohammed), the stranger who abducts him. The nature of relationship between Vishaya, the mysterious girl, and the writer seems to be complex. Vishaya disagrees with the writer when he says he finds the process of writing calming. She goes on to disprove his idea of himself as a better writer. Rahul becomes the interrupter who thwarts the idea that the writer has about himself.
When the three characters come under one roof, the writer feels betrayed by the two, which prods the pulling down of the hypocritical mask that he wears.
It could be said that the writer is up against his own conscience by creating two characters in his mindscape; interim faces in the moments between life and death.
The question remains, as to why he was being penalised. For wearing a mask and being a hypocrite? But aren’t we all? The critique on his writing, that Rahul gives—“finding material to write from the leftovers of others’” isn’t something unheard of. There are popular theories that state that no idea is original. As for misbehaving with Vishaya, his moral stance gets justifiably thrashed.
If it was indeed his conscience tackling his inner demons, then he did have an unsatisfactory life—one where he thought he was doing things to make himself happy, but they weren’t quite in favour of happiness, but spiralled back to strike him harder. Vishaya and Rahul seem to be ‘teaching Guttoo’ something. The why and what is incoherent.
Most of us audience were treading tough terrains. “I didn’t get it probably because I am not smart”, was a collective mumble once the show was over. It’s tragic if you make your target audience think they are incompetent. It calls for clarity, a less dense and more grounded plot/story. Imaginative, yes, but the concept tires one out when it doesn’t rid itself of a pretentious web. The painted house, signifying the outer shield we all wear, seems to be a strange lament over the fallibility of lives.
Location. The film is shot in two beautiful houses.
The dare-bare acts which are a first in Malayalam cinema.