6 Athiyayam: An Amateur Anthology that Fails to Create Interest
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
In the opening credits, one of the directors of 6 Athiyayam lays his expectations upon the audiences. He hopes the audiences receive this experimental anthology with open arms. It has to be mentioned that the Tamil cinema audience have always welcomed interesting experiments. As far as 6 Athiyayam is concerned, apart from the fact that it is an anthology, there is very little that is interesting about this experiment. Even if you can look past the barely existing mise-en-scene, you cannot help but be disappointed by the filmmakers’ poor understanding of the cinema language itself.
6 Athiyayam translates to six chapters in English. Though each chapter weaves its story under the same genre, the amateurism in its execution and the bland screenplay make it very hard for the audience to relate to it.
The first chapter, Superhero is about a man who thinks he is a superhero. This concept is new in Tamil cinema. There are a lot of perspectives the writer could have pursued to make it intriguing. But he resorts to a half-baked dialogue between this superhero and his psychiatrist that ends rather abruptly. Even though this short is easily the better one of the lot, it still houses artificial dialogues. The way the dialogues have been written makes the film unintentionally funny. The cinematography too is poor. The film keeps shifting between one too many point-of-view shots that only ends up distracting the audience.
The second chapter, Idhu Thodarum is based on the spirit of a child who is out to avenge her abuser. There are a lot of narrative problems in this particular short. The first is the outdated depiction of a ghost. A girl dressed in white with over-the-top, horrific and pale makeup might have been enough to convince the audience five decades ago, but now, it just comes across as a lazy effort to tell a story. The film also lacks proper frame suspense that directly translated to disinterest in the audience.
The third chapter, Missai is based on a heartbroken man whose much awaited proposal of love goes terribly wrong. The plot this short is based on is too juvenile. To assert revenge on their roommate, two men kiss the photo of his lover. The absurdity of this concept makes it immensely hard for you to take this tale seriously. The film houses very poor performances from the actors too.
The fourth chapter, Anamika revolves around a man stuck inside a haunted house for a night. In this short too, the dialogues are childish. The film itself has been sloppily written. The performances are below average as well. In one shot, the central character tries to phone his relative and the automated voice that announces ‘the number you are calling is currently switched off’ is dubbed hastily, making the film appear completely artificial.
The fifth chapter, Soup Boy Subramani is based on a super-natural force that prevents a man from finding love. This short is executed in a crass manner. The concept by itself is unfunny. But you will find the put-on accent of the Malayali guruji extremely funny.
The sixth chapter, Chithiram Pesuthadi is based on a painter who is inspired to paint the portrait of the lady, Kokila whose story interests him. Having read only half the story, the artist tries to locate the writer in order to obtain the complete story and finish her portrait. This particular short is quite similar to Karthik Subbaraj’s Pizza in its ideology. In fact it’s the only one in this lot to have potential to be transformed into a stand-alone film. But prevailing inconsistencies in writing character arcs water down the impact, this film aims to create.
Solo too is an anthology. With the same actor, director Bejoy Nambiar manages to create four tales that are quite enthralling. The film does have its pitfalls, but it is an experiment that is bound to excite you. This interest and technical quality is what goes missing from 6 Athiyayam. Deciding to break the rules behind screenwriting should be encouraged but setting out to break these rules without even understanding them is immaturity.
The line of thought behind most of these chapters appears perverse. The use of English dialogues too provides scope for a lot of unintentional comedy. The cinematography and music in each of these chapters are uniformly poor.
If one of these filmmakers took up the responsibility to have a check on quality control, maybe this anthology would have worked better. With the exorbitant ticket rates in Chennai, going to the theatres to view such an amateur film might appear pointless to your average consumer.