Yuddham Sei (2011)
Myshkin’s fourth feature, Yuddham Sei (“Make War”), is a film in reverse. The Jake Gittes-like protagonist of the film JK (a tribute to philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurthy, from whose idea of the individual as the means of social change the film seems to take off from) maneuvers through an inverted world, as is literalized in the numerous garish-yet-impressive upside-down compositions. This is a place where everything revolves around missing persons (rather, missing parts of body), where deaths are the most commonplace of events and where people are more living than dead. JK is played by director Cheran – a casting choice that might be the wisest by Myshkin so far – whose very countenance points to a man whose eyes have been plucked out and soul sucked off through the sockets. An undead hero – not a cold professional as other movies of the genre might indicate – like Melville’s last lead character, he sleepwalks through the narrative space, witnessing physical fragility with utmost equanimity, until his lost past resurrects him back to life, with all its emotional vulnerability and subjectivity. By presenting grotesque instances of violence before revealing them to be calculated acts of revenge against a much more diabolical scheme of things (the sort of emotional swing that Mani Ratnam’s latest failed to achieve), Myshkin indulges in much what-is-justice kind of philosophizing – a la Irreversible (2002) without the flashy puckishness – calling into question the ways of the law (although he cops out by revealing the unjust elements to be merely aberrations in an otherwise healthy establishment). As if providing a corrective note to Anjathey (2008), which might have seemed like valorizing the police force – Myshkin keeps alienating his lead man from institutional justice, seemingly arguing for some abstract notion of individualized justice, even at the risk of glorifying violence. And yes, the legs are all there.
(Image Courtesy: The Cinema News)