Getting this blog running again has been on my mind for some time now. But I just was not getting that final energising push to do so. And then last night, I watched Annayum Rasoolum and I knew...the time had come.
Why this movie you may ask? A 3 hour long intense love story that some of the fellow audience found more comfortable to giggle through or berate(though nobody walked out)?
Because in it I saw my beloved city, Kochi, in a way that it had never been seen before. This is no ordinary feat, mind you, considering every movie these days seems to have Kochi as its backdrop. Heck, walking into a film shoot has become a regular occurence for all Kochiites. You just can't escape the film units which throng every possible location out there.
Panampilly Nagar, Vytilla Junction, Marine Drive, the Rainbow bridge, the old bungalows of Fort Kochi, the city's malls and luxury hotels have all become regular canvases for films to roll out on.
Thus to shoot within the very same tiny geography and engagingly bring out a rustic, hearty core of Kochi, centred primarily in older hearths like Mattancherry and Vypeen, was a masterpiece move by the team of Annayum Rasoolum.
Within the subtleties of this intense romance, just like the city the story is based in, there is of course deep soulful love, but there is also darkness. There is joy, there is materialism, there is crime, there is frivolity, there is sadness, there is freedom, there is ecstasy, there is achievement, there is heartwrenching comedy, there is purpose and of course there is reality.
However what ends up being most fascinating for me, and so smartly executed, is the way the city actually relegates itself to a backseat role while the movie instead plays out inside the diverse modes of transportation Kochi has to offer.
Speeding buses-not the AC Volvo buses that are featured often in films these days, but the regular breadbox ones; noisy ferries; privacy ensuring autos; convenient tourist taxis; and zipping motorbikes are all used as 'vehicles' to move the story forward, each with its own timely significance, yet always keeping the city as witness. When all else fails, the hero, played flawlessly by Fahadh Faasil, turns to his Forrest Gump instinct and RUNS! Also constantly looming in the background against vivid hues of different skylights are the huge ships and barges that are so intrinsic to the socioeconomic fabric of Kochi.
No, I wasn't thinking about all this so deeply while watching the movie. I actually just sat back and allowed its slow pace to engulf me with the lives of the characters before me.
Yet again and again, along with the unique characterisations of the entire cast, I found myself drawn to the different essence of Kochi that emanated from the screen.
Interestingly the transportation metaphor never occured to me till much later. While we were leaving the cinema hall, I heard a lady rebuke the movie saying all it had were scenes that jumped from a bus to an auto to a ferry etc. She had actually nailed it. Thats when I rewound the movie in my head and realised it was a lot more brilliant than I had initially resigned it to be.
And I couldn't have been happier for I get simple pleasures from using public transportation. I actually enjoy taking the bus when I can. I think the ferry system in Kochi is one of the most efficient, cost effective but most under utilised method of navigating this city that is essentially an archipelago of islands. I can't wait for the Metro to finally arrive. I find tourist taxis in Kochi are some of the most reliable, safe and economical in the state and country.
So of course a public transportation junkie like me would find it absolute genius to use these simple day to day objects in our life as a platform for the movie!
Thus for me, Annayum Rasoolum, with its thorough exploration of a somewhat simple romance between two regular people, has became more of a visual and cerebral exploration of Kochi, the enigmatic metropolis that I now call home. Nothing much in the characters or their lives resembled my own, yet the feelings resonated within. Thats what good cinema does to you.