Well-wishers and friends from the industry celebrate director Balaji Sakthivel’s vision to make Vazhukku En 18/ 9
There are many moments in Vazhukku En 18/ 9 that leave a lump in your throat. Velu (Sri), an orphan works in a roadside shop. He comes across Jothi (Urmila Mahantha), who works as a maid. Then, there are teenagers Aarthy and Dinesh. A series of happenings lead to an acid attack on Jothi and Velu is summoned by the police. Inspector Muthuraman (Kumaravel) forces Velu to accept to the crime. But, the story doesn’t end there.
Film lovers led by poet Dakshinamurthy felicitated director Balaji Sakthivel for his conviction in narrating a story on the marginalised sections of society.
Cineaste D. Anandan compared the film-making style to that of world masters such as Robert Bresson and Alfred Hitchcock. He appreciated Balaji Sakthivel for the film’s social content. “There is visual magic and we travel through the investigation with the police,” he mentioned.
Artist V. Jeevanathan described the director’s vision as a journey towards realism, suitably supported by author-backed performances. “A throwback to an era where masters such as Shyam Benegal and Mahendran came up with hard- hitting films like Ankur, Nishanth and Uthiri Pookal.”
Advocate Sivakumar expressed his desire to take the film in CD form to every house. “Balaji has worked hard to come with a treasure. We want to ensure it reaches every one.”
The film deals with how the cell phone brings havoc into the lives of teenagers (touching upon the MMS and sex scandals). It is a reminder for every parent to shower their children with love, and spend time with them instead of giving gifts, said professor Dileep Kumar.
The tale of an ordinary man told in a simple way is the film’s strength, said writer Paamaran. Appreciating the director for his excellent characterisation of women, he said the ending scene where Jothy throws acid on the cop is a collective expression of the anger of the underprivileged against a society that turns a blind eye to them.
“This film boosts the confidence of many young filmmakers who want to make films on social themes,” he said.
Actor Muthuraman, who won accolades for his portrayal as the policeman, shared his experiences. Direct Stanley took the opportunity to congratulate his friend Balaji’s vision to bring about social change through cinema. “A keen observer of society, he has set the ball rolling with his films, beginning with Kaadhal.”
His film makes us stop and look at the mundane, said director Sasi. “The scene where the boy accepts to a crime for a a girl to whom he has never spoken a word takes his love to a higher level. I respect directors Bala, Vasanthabalan and Balaji Sakthivel for portraying the lives of ordinary men and women. Vazhakku en will be etched forever in the annals of cinema,” he added.
For Balaji Sakthivel, Coimbatore is second home — his best friend Selvaraj lives here. “All the appreciation has made me more responsible. I shot Vazhakku… in 52 days. We have it in us make films for as low as Rs. 20 lakh. What we need is the conviction and a pragmatic approach, especially with producers. Because, you need big banners to take your movies to the masses,” he said.
Poet Meenkashi Sundaram who moderated the event gave a crisp introduction about every speaker and livened the evening with anecdotes from his college days.