A new generation, largely conversational, campus comedy titled Kadhalil Sodappuvathu Yeppadi (how to mess up in love) or KSY is turning out to be a sleeper hit and a trendsetter in Tamil Nadu.
Starting with a moderate following, the multiplexes running the film are now drawing bigger crowds, both young and old.
Its Telugu version, Love Failure has been declared a super hit in Andhra Pradesh.
That the film is made by a 24-year old debutant director, who created a launchpad for himself through a portfolio of short films on YouTube, reiterates the possibilities of unconventional entry of new talent in Indian cinema. In fact, it’s the popularity of the short film with the same title that attracted Telugu-Tamil hero, Sidharth, to act in KSY. He also agreed to produce it along with star-cinematographer, Nirav Shah.
The storyline is very simple - the lead protagonist Arun, a college student, played by Sidharth talks to the camera on how he goofed up his love life. What follows is a popular treatise on love. Mainly, some goofed up love stories and in some cases, the reparation too.
Woven around the main thread of the love story of Arun and Parvathi (played by the new southern sensation Amala Paul), are a few minor plots that depict different versions of love, including that of the grown ups. The lead pair falls in love in college and goes through a cycle of break-ups and patch-ups. Their parents also come into the picture with their share of experiences.
Although the film is a lighthearted comedy, it has fine emotional moments and delightful human relationships cutting across different age-groups. It also has subtle messages on reconciliation and reparation. Overall, the setting is extremely progressive and all the characters are true to life and genuine. The director has assembled a fine set of new faces, mostly youngsters, that makes the movie work. They have all done a brilliant job.
We haven’t seen a move which is narrated by the lead protagonist on camera while the plots involving himself unfold around him, the way it is done in KSY. The structure is non-linear, but not the now-tiring multiple storylines; the visuals are very refreshing (Nirav Shah) and and the subtexts, very progressive. It has mobile phones, Facebook, friend-requests, SMSs, swank college canteens and a lot of young people in the frames. The movie also packs a few trendy songs and impromptu dances by people (college students, hospital employees etc) who are in the background and sitcom like situations.
Balaji Mohan has been able to convert his short film idea into a hit on the big screen largely because of an extremely smart script, uncomplicated style and the powerhouse of talent among the young cast that he has assembled. He also makes a statement on the remarkable possibilities of creative enterprise in the Indian movie industry.
Earlier, Chennai based journalist-film maker Sudhish Kamath had created a multiplex flutter with his stylish English feature Good Night Good Morning. This film was also noted for an intelligent script and efficient performances that helped the talented director to package an interesting film that was largely conversational.
If the southern film industry, mainly Tamil cinema, has of late made a mark by setting off a new wave of parallel cinema centred around rural life, what is interesting is also the emergence of urban indie films that make box office sense. The plots and the treatment of the new urban directors are fresh, easy, stylish and least-contrived. Interestingly, they look at the world very differently.