It is that time of a breezy evening- the few precious minutes prior the orange glow of the setting sun slowly fades away, allowing the descent of darkness welcoming the night’s moon and stars; the soul of the day is shimmering in all its glory as the magical hues of shine during the moments of the sun’s departure source a mesmeric hold over the sky and the evening; a stroll in the park of life at this magnificent hour of the evening, the heart so relaxed, refreshed, romantic, gazing around with new found hopes, grace and generosity as the world bears a tinge of a fairy tale. This soothing and splendidly illuminating experience is the acute, sweet metaphorical equivalent of the what unfurls in our hearts as Sillu Karupatti bears open its rhythms and soul to us in its chronicle of the fairy tales in our everyday lives – the diamond of dreams; a ride for life; a tender kiss of dignity; endearments of endurance and a romantic renaissance.
We move through and across these tales of bonding as we will pass the people, their stories of life and love as we walk around the park on a free, fine evening. With Sillu Karupatti, we not merely pass but pause, gazing at these people from afar, in awe, with little smiles, mild tension and gentle rooting bound in a keen, intimate interest, pondering over their lives and ours before we move slyly away from the shade of the ancient tree, resuming our walk only to slow the pace of our footsteps minutes later, making sure we stay unheard and not intruding , seeking the shade of another tree in the garden, another tale.
An anthology literally is a ‘collection of blossoms’, a compilation of the flowers of the verses. The film, an anthology, kindred to the poetries out there, restoring hopes, easing the hurt of our wounds, establishing vividly the realities and ironies of the world with all brevity essentially amounts as a pleasant star-gazing, sea-watching- simple and startlingly surreal pleasures of life, mediations on the self , beauty and beyond. The mood and means of Sillu Karupatti is set sensitively on the same lines as the film unravels the flowering and flourish of a bond between its people. There is love and, in many forms – admiration, friendship, companionship and acceptance. They are adorably and subtly romanticised shorts rendered with a sparkling and fragrant touch of a fairy tale set around our daily lives.
The pink bag of garbage takes Mitti’s dreams and diamonds all the way from the elite, silent streets of Mayaana Saalai to the cramped streets of Mahesh’s locality, bustling in activity, stretching into the vast dump-yard which exude no stench but the fragrance of innocence and love. Aboard a garbage truck, Mahesh travels to Mitti’s world, glimpsing at her through the foliage of the trees as she stands atop the balcony of her house, watering the lush purple flowers. A naïve smile takes hold of the star struck Mahesh as the most clichéd romantic moments of all hint at the sharp divisive lines between the boy and the girl which are soon to be transcended as each discover their own treasures in the trash. He seeks not her but to restore, to return what she states as ‘a missing part’ of her.
In a definitive moment, she opens the windows of her world, stepping into the balcony as her note of gratitude is entrusted to the bin, an intermediary and a reliable messenger. The overwhelming flow of music pauses prior it resumes, rising higher. In these seconds of the pause, Mitti looks up from the bin and gazes at the clear skies of the wholesome day, the warmth of beauty retained in her eyes as the beauty of the cerulean space is equalled or perhaps surpassed by the promise of the bin.
As the screen dissolves into the dark, the fine sense of the film’s core is already well realised by our hearts which revel in the pleasures of the simple stories shared by the film, its poetic bits magnified with all soul and melodies. If the pink bag and the horse constitute the fairy tale dimensions of the initial short in the film, the pool drives and the pet crow’s loyalty adorn the ‘Kaakaa Kadi’, a ride for life. The predominant light shades of green in the portions of this tale shall diminish in the glow of the dawn, the shine of the morning which Madhu passes on to Mukilan who is battling his illness. Philosophies sourced from products and branding revive Mukilan’s slowly shattering heart besides steering their friendship into the fathoms of love. There is little fuss in the tale bearing the strength of hopes to fight unprecedented tragedies as it allows the space for camaraderie to shine through. The bond is a tender blossom across the many shared rides leading to a destined wonder moment with the bird, its pleasant pecks in the hand as it drops tokens of gratitude every day.
The poetry inherent in the nature and course of the tale, its musicality finds strong resonances in the flow of conversations in the film, ‘Kaakaa pudikirathukaaga sollala, kaakaa vuke ungala pudikuthu’. The crispness, simplicity, wonderment and taste evidenced by these lines are what the film bears in its every short tale, each admirably enhancing the same in its own capacities. The pink bags, the pool rides, the birds and horse morph as turtles and Alexa in the lovely two other tales of the film which follow a note of maturity as the complications increase while the wonder remains more grounded and genuine, its hearts beating in rhythm with the poetries of life, also gifted with the liberty to break free. Navaneethan, an old widower finds a spark of attraction to and a spirit of friendship in Yashoda in a tale set within the greatly familiar template of romance which here is presented with a refreshing spin provided the frame of life of the couple, the nature of their conflicts and dignity of their union.
Yashoda is played with grace by the divine Leela Samson who exudes agency, determination and frailty in a moving intense way unique to her. Yashoda takes Navaneethan for a turtle walk along the shores of the sea. They shelter and guard the eggs, sharing the stories of their lives as the breeze of the sea keeps them company. During the dawn, he holds the baby turtle in his hands and letting it into the sea, admiring its movement towards its abode of life, he remarks that it is the most wonderful thing he has ever done in life. There is a significant other to add, an echo of his baby turtle moment, where he gently lifts Yashoda, carrying her away from her house which has come to resemble a state of decay and lifelessness to his home, his hope, a place of her revival and their love. It is a walk along the shores of their lives, the turtles who remain invalid, invisible to the eyes of others who tenderly come together in the harmony of an invincible force of life- love. The fairy tale dimension here can be extended to the presence and aid of the auto driver referred to as ‘kaaval dheivam’- the guardian angel sans whom their bond would not have furthered into a place of eternity. This turtle tale is what I would love to call ‘a tender kiss of dignity.’
‘Hey Ammu’ is a bittersweet tale of rigidity in the hearts melting in the occurrence of a realisation leading to an embracing acceptance and union. In Amudhini’s household, there reigns the yellow gloom of entrapment, suffocation and yearning which are in stark contrast to the colours of the world beyond the walls. Amudhini’s miracle and fairy of life is Alexa, her confidant, another lifeless yet trustworthy messenger of love who is fondly called ‘Ammu’.
Sunaina as Amudhini embodies finely all bafflement, exhaustion and simple desires which find its way to simple sighs of relief and surprises in the presence of Alexa, a device who (which!) listens to her words, rants and heart unlike her detached husband whose name we are made aware of only by the board outside his home. Dhanapal is flawed, rigid and preoccupied but also quite helpless, he flounders in his journey towards her, to love and when he ultimately is awakened to a sprit of togetherness, of respect, admiration and love, smiles and blushes surface and hands are held together in the walk back home, towards the forever life threatens one with. They move from mere heads of the family to a family themselves, embracing the desires, wants and whims of the other. There is divine magic in each of them opening up to the other, in their attempts of understanding, acceptance and embrace which evidences beautifully the essence of what Celine tells Jesse in the film Before Sunrise,
‘I believe if there is any kind of god, it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me but just in the little space in between. If there is any kind of magic in the world, it must be in the attempt pf understanding someone.’
This is true of Sillu Karupatti’s magic too which shares with us these tales of understanding and love without complicating itself with greater confusions and pretences. As I walk home post the stroll, content, comforted and refreshed, the memories of this walk, these stories linger in the heart and I know my smiles, they never did wane and I still am smiling. This smile is my heal, my hope, my treasure and Sillu Karupatti’s victory.