Puriyatha Puthir: A disturbing film on voyeurism
The film is a suspense thriller with dark undertones throughout and is well complimented by the cinematographer and the music director
There are films which make you uncomfortable because they are so bad that you wonder how they got made in the first place. And then there are films like Puriyatha Puthir, which has scenes so raw that you almost don’t want to see what will unfold next on screen for fear of seeing your worst suspicions come true. And this, in a film that for the first 15 mins lulls you into a sense of false comfort by portraying itself as a breezy romance.
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Gayathrie
Director: Ranjit Jeyakodi
But that doesn’t mean this is not a romantic movie. Kathir (Vijay Sethupathi) is an aspiring music director and Meera (Gayathrie) is a part-time music teacher. It starts off quite innocuously between these two, and soon with the help of Sam CS, the film’s music director, and Hariharan and Harini’s lovely voices in the opening song Vellai Kanavu, it develops into a love story. Soon, status quo gets threatened, when Kathir receives compromising photos and videos of Meera, and he does not know how to react or what to do. The director, who could have easily sensationalised this, does not do that and instead, lets Kathir take decisions that a normal man in his position would do. The paranoia that slowly develops with each message that Kathir receives is quite palpable, and you can feel it trickle down from the screen into the consciousness of the audience. A huge shoutout for making this possible should definitely go to the cinematographer Dinesh Krishnan. It really doesn’t matter if Meera steps out of an auto and walks into her apartment, or if she is in the warm embraces of Kathir. You are always left feeling a looming sense of danger. Take, for instance, a cab ride that Kathir and Meera take back home after the interval. The camera moves away from the conversing couple, swings out to portray the back of the car disappearing into the night, and zooms out to show that you are now peeping into the lives of these love birds. This theme of voyeurism is prevalent throughout the movie and as the story moves forward, you begin to see these characters begin to move away from being black and white, and exhibit shades of grey. The swerve that the film takes in the last half hour to establish this ambiguity of its characters and their actions, that lead to the eventual consequences, makes this a film with great rewatch value.
As the end credits roll and the director thanks Ram and Roman Polanski, I could only think of the line that Kathir says to his friend,“Vaazhkaiya swarasyama vaazhradhu mukkiyam illa. Nimmadhiya vaazhanum.” Puriyatha Puthir has had its fair share of hurdles right upto the day of its release. But you’ll be glad it’s finally seen the light of day.