Taramani: A Thought-Provoking Tale Enriched By Realistic Emotions
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Halfway into Taramani, I got reminded of a certain Anne Rice quote that reads “In your writing, go where the pain is; go where the pleasure is; go where the excitement is. Believe in your own original approach, voice, characters, and story. Have nerve. Be stubborn.” These words come alive in director Ram’s Taramani. The film’s original treatment, it’s stubbornness to break the rules and most of all its jilting dose of realism passes through your conscience and makes you think.
Prabhunath (Vasanth Ravi), a man with a long beard and a broken heart shares a chance encounter with Althea (Andrea Jeremiah), a forward-thinking, modern woman. Soon after their meeting, they start to fall in love with one another. But as the butterflies in their stomachs settle down, principle clashes start to overtake their relationship. After one shocking incident involving doubts of an affair followed by severe lashing out, it seems as though they’ve broken their bond irreparably. Whether or not they redeem their love and the measures they resort to in this reforming journey forms the core of this plot.
Taramani encloses a realistic portrayal of modern day relationships. Moving steadily from one plot segment to another, it records the measures and methods a man resorts to when he is in love. Even though the story is suffused in present-day issues, at its core, it’s all about a man who is on a journey to redemption.
The plot shows immense promise due to director Ram’s distinctive treatment. From Katradhu Tamizh to Taramani, the director’s gradual growth can be observed through his ability to tone down the eccentricity in his screenplays. For the heavy topic it treads on, Taramani scrapes away melodrama and takes up a satirical approach that gives you enough space to breathe.
It is also quite admirable to note that Director Ram has chosen to stray away from typical narrative techniques. By breaking a formulaic structure, he has created an innovative screenplay. His voiceover in the film re-instates the focal point of the plot and takes the audience on a journey that is free of unnecessary deviations. For instance, even though Taramani touches upon the issue of the sad state of constructive workers in India, it never forces you to dive into the topic. It merely states facts and leads you to its main characters. Leaving quite a few things to one’s imagination, the filmmaker ensures that he doesn’t spoon feed the audience. This is a refreshing change to witness.
The film has many social issues embedded within its storyline. It incorporates these social issues without becoming preachy. From exploiting marshy lands to abolishing societal stereotypes, Taramani lends you its perspective on many current issues, but it does so without lecturing you. This clarity points to the writer’s confidence on the story and its characters.
They way director Ram establishes the atmosphere of the scenes in Taramani is quite masterful. One minute, Thea and Prabhu are just fine, the next minute, their tempers lie aggravated. These escalations are established metaphorically while also keeping realism intact. When the two central characters fight, their imperfections are highlighted realistically. In the heat of the moment, these characters say and do things they don’t mean. This escalated atmosphere is portrayed in an unhindered and unpolished manner.
Director Ram’s characterizations are beyond beautiful. Each and every character in the film has shades of grey in them. None of them are categorized as bad and good people. Their actions and decisions go wrong but this does not make them entirely bad characters. This establishes a frame in which the portrayals of these characters are actually that of real three dimensional human beings you would’ve come across in life.
Dialogues and screenplay are easily the strength of Taramani. The lines uttered by characters are not only crisp but they’re also insightful. They lend comical relief when needed too. A few scenes in particular are completely moving. In one such moving scene, Thea’s little boy Adrian, carries a bag full of liquor bottles from his home with a lot of difficulty only to throw it away on the streets. In his innocent mind, he believes that getting rid of these bottles will heal his mother’s broken heart. This enactment is bound to move you to tears.
Another especially thought-provoking example of excellent writing is the climax. At first, you are quite cynical about the way it unravels. But when you receive proper justification you come to the realization that this is exactly the way it is supposed to end.
Furthermore, there are two noteworthy things to observe in Taramani. Firstly, unlike the plenty of mainstream Tamil films that you’ve been a witness to, this film never places all the blame on women when problems in relationships arise. It doesn’t confine women to societal norms. It encapsulates the spirit of a real, modern woman. Secondly, with utmost clarity it highlights the difference between love and protectiveness. All you see in Tamil Cinema are many damsels in distress. But Ram reiterates the fact that his characters don’t need saving. More importantly, he demonstrates how different protection is from love. Just for providing the viewers with this differentiation, the director deserves a solid round of applause.
Vasanth Ravi is a complete natural. He assumes Prabhu’s character with conviction and sincerity. He portrays his character’s eccentric tendencies with immense intensity. Andrea Jeremiah delivers a powerhouse performance. The way she carries herself and the confidence she lends to her character is so reassuring. Azhagam Perumal plays a significant role in Taramani. Just for the earnest and emotional monologue he delivers in the second half, he deserves his fair share of the limelight.
Cinematographer Theni Easwar captures the real Taramani devoid of superficiality. The way it is transforming into a new and urban Chennai is also portrayed wonderfully. But these visuals could’ve fared better if an accurate sharpness was displayed in each frame.
Yuvan Shankar Raja’s music complements the films theme by lending it a unique character. But a majority of the credit goes to the sound engineer of Taramani. He/she has masterfully mixed dialogues that bear tonal subtlety while also retaining intensity. The sound engineering complements the film’s motive and often takes upon the role of a story-teller too. Unlike many sound engineers who exhibit the same audio scale throughout the film, this person’s varying pitch makes a sizeable difference to the cinematic experience. Taramani’s CG on the other hand is noticeably amateur.
On the whole, Taramani is a hard-hitting, emotional and realistic film that is bound to give you a worthwhile experience.