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TAMIL CINEMA’S ‘PAROTTA MASTER’
By Arun Gopinath
We have something new in Tamil cinema – the ‘Parotta comedy’! You mention the term and everyone knows what you are referring to: the scene from Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu. And, there is a new addition to the ‘Parotta comedy’ line up – Azhagarsaamiyin Kudhirai. Those of you who have seen the movie will know the scene being referred to. Those who have not watched the movie, this is a free piece of advice; go watch it or else you are missing one of the cutest pieces of cinema executed in about a decade. After watching Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu and laughing our lungs out at the ‘Parotta comedy’ we never expected it to be recreated again. Such things of absolute
  Suseendiran
simplicity and spontaneous mirth are hard to replicate. Many have tried doing it but the magic from the first time has never been recaptured.

The ‘Vazhappazha comedy’ is a perfect example. Try as they may, both Goundamani and Sendhil could never make another scene as immortal as this one, though they did create many other enjoyable moments. Or, the N number of attempts that have been made by Vadivelu, Vivek and scores of other comedians at replicating the almost everlasting effect that Winner Kaipullai had. Ever since Winner released, more than 90% of comedy tracks have revolved around ‘dummy rowdies’ and their methods of getting beaten up. While many of them have been enjoyable (and others, especially recent ones like Mappillai have made us want to walk out of theaters) Winner still is the clear favorite.

Yes, success spawns a number of followers, some of whom want to emulate, while others want to imitate. More importantly, success creates a tag on the person who is successful; especially in cinema. In cinema, success can be a baggage that one has to carry around everywhere, sometimes falling into image traps and repeating oneself. Success in cinema creates pressure to succeed again and the easiest way and most dangerous trap in such situations is to imitate earlier success.

Suseendiran might have found himself in such a spot when his career took off on a positive note with VKK. He chose not to repeat and or replicate and went for something completely different in Naan Mahaan Alla. And, when he came back to the rural setting in Azhagarsaamiyin Kudhirai, the comparisons and expectations were inevitable. Would he be able to replicate the magic of VKK? Will he repeat the success of VKK?

NO, he neither replicated nor repeated; he recreated. There is very little or nothing of VKK that we can see in Azhagarsaamiyin Kudhirai, except of course the cast and the ‘Parotta’. Isn’t the ‘Parotta’ a repetition, you would ask? Wasn’t that an attempt on the part of the director to cash in on the success of a previous film? Would Azhagarsaamiyin Kudhirai have been a lesser film without the Parotta?

The answer to the first two questions isn’t clear. But the answer to the final one is a definite ‘Yes’. Having watched the film, one cannot think of it without the ‘Parotta’ scene, however small or inconsequential it might be. It does not look like a mere repetition, a pale imitation or an attempt to put in a small piece which can be used for good recall value in publicity. And, that is where the skill of the director comes to the fore. There is a very thin line between looking brilliant or stupid in such matters. Suseendiran has walked the line like an expert.

Finally, it takes strong characters, or big hits to create screen names that stick to an actor throughout the career. But, there is one actor who got a screen name with just a Parotta, ‘Parotta Suri’. And one guesses the name will stick for a few years to come if not longer. And, so, the man who made this possible, Suseendiran, will be the ‘Parotta Master’ of the Tamil industry.

We call Suseendiran the ‘Parotta Master’ not just because he has woven two delightful scenes around it. It is also because of his ability to make cinema that is simple, cheap (on budgetary grounds) and can be enjoyed by everyone; just like the Parotta – the poor man’s Pizza. Suseendiran is certainly a master of simple and beautiful film making.
Tags : Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu, Azhagarsaamiyin Kudhirai, Suseendiran, Naan Mahaan Alla
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