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Review: 'Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai' stands apart

Heartwarming with its parable-like narrative, Suseenthiran's film is ideal fare for a discerning viewer.

The New Indian Express |

Updated:May 23, 2011, 3:07 PM IST
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Review: 'Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai' stands apart
Heartwarming with its parable-like narrative, Suseenthiran's film is ideal fare for a discerning viewer.

Chennai: Set in the little village of Mallayapuram, 'Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai' revolves around the missing wooden horse of the local deity, as also a rustic's search of his real horse that was the sole means of his livelihood. Director Suseentihran's third venture, 'Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai' is an adaptation of Tamil writer Bhasker Sakthi's short story.

The film opens with the villagers preparing for the annual temple festival, when their local deity Azhagarsami would be taken around on a white wooden horse. The villagers believed that this would bring rains to the drought-stricken village. But when the horse goes missing days before the festival, cops and sorcerers are brought in to trace it.

The villagers find a white horse grazing in the direction pointed out by the sorcerer, and take the animal in their possession. The arrival of the horse is followed by some auspicious happenings, and the villagers decide to substitute the real horse for the missing one. But then enters into the scene Azhagarsami (Appukutty of Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu fame), a rustic from a neighbouring village, who claims that the horse belong to him.

How did the wooden horse disappear, and would Azhagar get back his horse, are questions answered in a narrative laced with humour, with a twist in the end. Charming with its simplicity and in its intuitive perception of human behaviour, Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai reminds you of Iranian films. The locales are picturesque, the characters colourful and interesting, similar to what you would find in an RK Narayan novel.

The film, with deeper connotations than just a missing horse, brings out wonderful insight of the quirks and failings of humans, their superstitious beliefs, and apathy towards fellow beings.

The village minor and his nocturnal sexual escapades, the charlatan sorcerers who play on people's superstitions, the bumbling cops brought in to trace the horse, the pompous village elders and a couple-in-love who sneak out for romantic trysts, are all characters that we may have seen in films earlier. But it's the way they have been etched here that is interesting and engaging. There are some fun moments when the village elders go around the village to collect money for the festival.

Modestly budgeted, the film has no big names in its cast to boast of. The actors, chosen for their suitability to the roles, perform uniformly well. Of particular mention is Appukutty, who fits in perfectly as the simple uncouth rustic distressed by the turn of events in his life. The director has got adequate support from his technical crew.

Illayaraja's songs and background score enhance the mood. The film does slacken its pace in the latter part. But capsuled in two hours of viewing time, it's a pleasant watch. With its different take and experimental in its concept, Suseenthiran's film comes as a whiff of fresh air.

Heartwarming with its parable-like narrative, 'Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai' is ideal fare for a discerning viewer.

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