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Alternative views of the world around us, through tinted glasses. Break down contradictions in the human condition, or plumb the depths of popular culture. By The Way is what you may have missed in the mainstream.
BY THE WAY
December 20, 2014 Udhav Naig
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A still from the movie.
Special Arrangement
A still from the movie.

Why are Horror movies enjoyable? It has been argued that the horror genre exploits the collective existential (or irrational) fears of the society. Take Steven Spielberg’s Jaws: the shark that attacks the small white town stands in for a number of fears; of migrants, of economic instability and so on.

Mysskin’s Pisasu, is also horror film, but with a twist. The ghost in this film doesn’t represent our collective fears but our collective failures to ensure fairness in the society. The ghost interferes to change what we refer to as decadence: lying; thievery; violence against women and so on.

Pisasu begins with a curious twist: a ghost of a girl haunts a young guy (Naga) in his twenties who has actually tried to save a girl fighting for her life after meeting with a road accident.

The film unfolds conventionally, in which the protagonist desperately tries to get rid of the ghost. Until the midpoint of the film, Mysskin packs the narrative with long sequences, nudging the audience to anticipate the grotesque image of the ghost and occasionally delivering it to the audience. He does the basic things well. He heightens the tension – in anticipation of the ghost –by manipulating the music: the shots are devoid of music until the ghost appears and hits the high notes thereafter. While the ghost constantly interferes in the life of the protagonist and appears to him as though it might hurt his loved ones, we are shown that the ghost is good.

In the second half, however, the film becomes a murder mystery. The story of the ghost, who was named Bhavani in her real life, unfolds, revealing that her father (played by Radha Ravi) is waiting to exact revenge for his daughter’s death.

It suddenly turns into a murder mystery as the protagonist becomes active and pieces together the events leading up to her death just so that he can find out the man who killed her. The final half hour is packed with startling images and poignant moments between the Father, the protagonist and the Ghost, problematising notion of compassion, justice and testing the very limits of forgiveness.

On top of everything, the most important takeaway from this film is this: it is still possible to make a good film with barely 10 characters and a shoestring budget if you have the will to do it.

December 13, 2014 Udhav Naig
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Keywords: LingaaRajinikanth

November 27, 2014 Sowmiya Ashok
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November 25, 2014 Nirupama Subramanian
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November 1, 2014 Sowmiya Ashok
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April 13, 2014

The Dadasaheb Phalke award is the latest, and hopefully, not the last, recognition of Gulzar's excellence. Reflections on his poetry, his lyricism and the artistic restlessness that keeps him going even after half-a-century in the film industry »

April 12, 2014

In the southern districts of Tamil Nadu, why is a community’s power judged by the size of its temple for certain deities? »

March 26, 2014

A day after Farooque Sheikh's birth anniversary, reflections on why the gentleman-actor should have lived on »

March 22, 2014

Being great at your job does not give you license to be an idiot at the workplace »

March 10, 2014

Mechanical typewriters have disappeared from modern offices after the entry of personal computers, but those old machines have not been completely forgotten. »

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