Film: Summave Aaduvom
Director: Kadhal Sukumar,
Cast: Arun, Arjun, Leema Babu, Balasingh, A.Anandan, Mano,Pandu.
Comedian-turned-director ‘Kadhal’ Sukumar’s debut directorial venture Thiruttu VCD (2015) was meant to be a road-trip-comic caper. But it was so poorly executed that it had made one wonder why the comedian had strayed from his first calling into direction, without adequate preparation. But this time Sukumar knows a better understanding of the medium. For though not the best of scripts going round, Summave Aaduvom is far better executed than his earlier one. There is a sincerity of purpose,a neatness and focus in the etching of its screenplay, the characters are better fleshed out too. Elements, that were missing in his earlier venture.
The plot is about folk artistes and their struggle to retain the piece of land allotted to them by a kind zamindar decades back. While quite a few films have been made about the plight of out-of-work folk artistes in modern times, Sukumar’s take on it is slightly different. It’s more of a Lagaan (2001) style scenario — of beating the tormentors at their own game!
While the older members of the troupe are cynical, the younger ones had moved on in life doing various odd jobs. Like its protagonist Karnan (Arun ) who ran a petty shop. Similar to his mythological namesake, Karnan was generous to a fault and had even sold his shop his sole means of livelihood, to help a friend in need.
The youngster also led a fan club for their local hero Arjun, the zamindar’s son (Arjun) who had made it big in films. That Karnan and Arjun were step brothers (a mythological touch here), was a secret shared between the zamindar and his astrologer (Pandu).
The latter, a couple of decades back, falling in line with the bizarre rituals conjured up in rural-centric plots to steer over a crisis, had suggested that the childless zamindar cohabit with another woman. The act would beget his wife a child, he had predicted.
A young folk artiste overhearing the conversation had offered herself. And lo and behold the zamindar’s wife conceives and the other woman too, both subsequently begetting sons. The astrologer incidentally had made another prediction. That the newborns would be swapped during birth. Whether that would turn true too, one would learn at the end.
It’s the subsequent fall-out between the two step brothers that leads to the Lagaan style scenario. Karnan and his gang at a point are insulted by Arjun. The bitter altercation that follows ends in Arjun throwing a challenge. That, if Karnan and team can make a film and complete its shooting within 30 days, the land would be theirs. Else they would be evicted. The rest is about the hurdles the team faces as they try to meet the challenge.
Scenes of selection of the technicians and actors from local talent, are mildly amusing. With a little more effort and thought put in, these moments could have turned into hilarious ones, as they were in Lagaan. Most of the actors in the cast are freshers and just about adequate in their roles. Sukumar who had played one of the leads in his earlier film, has kept himself away this time.
After his disastrous directorial debut in Thiruttu VCD, Summave Aaduvom comes as a redemption of sorts for the actor-turned-maker.