Friday, November 13, 2009
The opening credits start off against the background of sunset over a river. Balu Mahendra aptly sets the mood of the movie with the sunset visual.
Sunset is a time for reflection on the day gone past and Aliyatha Kolangal is about reflection and nostalgia. Sunset could also mean a sense of loss or regret of a beautiful day gone past without we being able to reclaim it except in our memories.
The river is an important character in the film. We will soon learn that it was a source of joy, erotic experience and sorrow for the main character and his friends.
The theme song, Nan Ennum Polluthu, sets the tone for the movie. It's beautifully sung by SP Bala to Salil Chowdri's haunting tune. Those coming to the film for the first time may not feel the impact of the song when the movie opens. The song will play again at the end of the movie and that's when it will tug at your heart strings.
The lines by Gangai Amaran - Nenjil Itta Kolam Yellam Alivathillai, Yendrum Atha Kalaivathillai, Yenanggalleum Maraivathillai - will transport you back to days which hold fond and meaningful memories.
It's another day for our main character who is driven to his office and leisurely flips through a file and enjoys English music. He even looks at the scenery outside with detachment. We think he's a wealthy, middle-class man born and bred in the city. That's not the case.
At the office he dictates a letter as would be his normal routine. Then his secretary brings him his personal mail. He sifts through them without much interest until he spots one that makes him smile.
Just as he's about to read the letter, a buzz from his secretary interrupts him. A client has arrived from Hyderabad has come. But our man makes him wait and proceeds to read the letter.
He also tells his secretary not to allow any calls for the next ten minutes. We wonder what could be so important about the letter.
It's a letter from an old friend, Patabi. It's a letter that carries shocking news for him. Patabi starts off calling him a rascal (he was a rascal). Patabi scolds him for not visiting the village or writing to him at least once a year.
It is obvious that Patabi doesn't write often to his friend in the city. This time, however, he has written to convey important news - Teacher Indu is dead.
It's a letter that sets the whole movie rolling. The moment Patabi he learns that Teacher Indu is dead, it forces him into a long trip down memory lane to his humble beginnings as a boy growing up in a village.
As to why the the death of the teacher shocks him, we shall learn as the movie progresses.
Teacher Indu was more than a teacher to him.