Friday, July 5, 2013

Annayum Rasoolum

The story (as told by the sutradharan, Ashley) begins when the cops set out  on their mission to establish the identity of the ferryman.  They don’t get to meet him straight away. Instead, they meet Resul.
Led by Resul, the cops (like rest of us, the audience)  ride through the streets of Kochi and meet other characters.  What is inferred by the cops may or may not be in resonance  with individuals  of the audience . And that, is the experience offered by the makers of this movie, Annayum Resulum.
Replace Anna and Resul with any of the other characters, like say Kochi, Vypeen, Colin, Abu, his wife, the girl hanging around Colin’s house playing badminton, any of the sales girls sipping a frugal tea by the service staircase of the textiles showroom, or even the mannequins, the ferry that gets stuck in the middle of the river, or the smaller one which tugs it to safer shores, strangers after losing their identity  carrying on with their inter religious matrimonial existence in some nondescript  remote villages, the invisible Bharathettan, Kunjumon with his assorted friends and enemies, the silent conversations happening between Anna and her father , the narrow by-lanes , the River, the bridges, the mobile phones, the songs, the silence.  Each substitution offers you a different perspective.  Blend  them all together , and you have Annayum Resulum.
It is not ethical to dissect a movie or even a story for that matter, but highlighting a few pointers while  attempting  to dive deep  into the River to have a better view of Anna, and Resul wouldn’t hurt :
Had the boat not got stuck midway, the lives of Anna and Resul (and their story) would have been left to drift in the everyday routines  of going forth and back, until Anna decides to end her life sooner, than later.  And the camera wouldn’t have discovered the interiors of  Anna’s house either.  Only after the mechanical failure of the boat and the subsequent attempt by Resul to peek into Anna’s heart  that the camera enters   Anna’s house.  Some of the most evocative scenes  conveying the emotions, undercurrents, the tense silence, faith, love and helplessness  are captured by the camera from within the interiors of that house.  A compelling social study exploring the reasons why many young Keralites  find violence as a means to establish their identity  is carried out by the camera, poignantly .
As much as it is a social study, it is political as well.
While riding through any village or town in Kerala, one could never miss the noisily coloured  flags that the political parties flaunt in all street corners and spaces in between.  Neither could you miss the posters, arches etc.. If during the three hour long journey through Kochi, you fail to see any of these, the only possible reason could be that the camera avoided them intentionally. Exceptions being  the dash of red flags and festoons in the hilly town that Anna and Resul briefly take refuge in (and a lonely flag fluttering at the entrance of Kochi port).  In this movie -where not a single blade of grass moves, nor a word is spoken , or a moment of silence shared that the director  does not intend to- these visual symbols of present day politics are  ever more conspicuous by absence.  Like Resul does, take a deep breath and dive down  beneath  the unrevealing surface. And you could see political statements  dripping from every frame of the movie.
Coming out of the police station, as a reply to his uncle’s seemingly innocuous and ‘balanced’ observation that the statements made by either parties seem to be correct, the ferryman in as much measured words as possible blasts the so called ‘neutral’ opinions  and makes it clear how and why extremists are born.  
Under the prevailing social conditions, as illustrated in the movie, conflicts are bound to arise. In fact it is a vehicle for history to move ahead. Conflicts can happen in the streets, at home, in the narrow by lanes, within one’s own mind, in the political and spiritual spheres- as in anywhere else.  Those who fail to take sides and do not act decisively are those who struggle to move on.  They are not helping themselves, and they don’t help the larger community either.  The movie does take sides and thus establishes its identity.
Even as Anna and Resul lead us to all these other characters and their manifestations, it is interesting to note how they are guided into their communion.  Goaded by his father’s offhand comment, Resul reaches the church premises where Anna , strengthened by the authority of the  verses from Bible( She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar – Proverbs 31:14) rejects with conviction the offer from her fiancée and waits for Resul to come.  Resul, guided by the same teacher who helps Anna get  her perspective about marriage cleared ( against the backdrop of divine gifts of love and sex) takes Anna’s hand, beautifully.
The story, as told by the sutradharan ends when he, even though having  access to both Resul and Anna  fails to communicate the message  of hope to Anna  and she decides to assert her identity. Did Ashley fail or it was the script that failed? A point worth debatable.

Meanwhile, the story ‘about’ the sutradharan  turns out to be the bigger picture. Having discovered himself, he moves on with his onward journey, into the oceans.
The stories within the story don’t end there either.
Just as since the opening credits Resul was leading us through the streets of Kochi, by the end credits he dives deeper and wider  and takes us on a  journey northwards- to the Hindi heartlands.

Now, the movie has to be re interpreted with a pan India perspective?

That is when the politics of this movie is exposed to harder terrains.


Unknown said...

Excellent take, as it would be by someone who loves to see things through a lense.

Wish you had mentioned about Fahad's histrionics, those songs ( yes, including 'Kaayalinarike'), cameos by Aashiq Abu and Ranjith, and that haunting climax.

For me, Annayum Rasoolum would definitely be in the top 10 Malayalam films of the last two or three decades.Close to 6 months since watching, but still haunting an experience.

Why this film gets a near-cult status so fast/early? By whom? Its those people who had experienced love (sincere one, at least once), who might had lost one,and/or by those who have some virtues or goodness left in their hearts, who celebrated it without inhibitions.

And finally,why some guys hate/dislike it? Well, there should be some audience for those filthy Natholi-cheriya-meenalla kinds also, no? I mean, those self-proclaimed high IQ (ha ha!) types.

Thanks Babukka, for this read. Perhaps the best review as it would have been done in a camera perspective.


Unknown said...

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