In a bustling town like Chennai, that’s continuously increasing and evolving, no longer each segment of the society manages to stay beforehand of the curve. There are scores of depraved humans, who’re left behind. However, the actual tragedy of improvement is the plight of individuals who are not just left in the back of but additionally forgotten.
While the protagonists in Chezhiyan’s award-winning drama To Let aren’t precisely forgotten, their plight, which comes due to the development and assumed economic increase, is commonly disregarded inside the call of collateral damage.
Set in 2007, while the IT growth hit India, To Let is about Ilango (Santhosh Sreeram), an aspiring filmmaker, who lives together with his spouse Amutha (Sheela Rajkumar) and four-yr-old son Sidharth (Dharun) in a rented home.
Their international gets a jolt when they’re asked to vacate the house without delay. This one-liner may sound very much like Balu Mahendra’s Veedu (1987). However, it is due to the fact the troubles in locating a place to rent appear to have remained the same over time.
But unlike in Veedu, in which a middle-magnificence own family like Sudha’s building their very own house appeared viable, the ‘improvement’ in 2007 has all however crushed the middle-magnificence’ dream of proudly owning belongings inside the town.
Tackling the overarching theme of globalization and housing troubles, Chezhiyan takes us thru some of smaller troubles with the help of his stable, who supply nuanced performances that belie their inexperience in front of the digital camera. I do not take into account any other filmmaker, nowadays, who so accurately depicted the lives of the middle-magnificence. The writing honestly reminds us that Ilango and Amutha are not harmful. They have the cash and have the assets to get more. But, with growing charges of commodities, hire, faculty costs and many others… It’s far continually no longer sufficient. In other words, they’re the proper middle-magnificence.
Be it in Amutha thanking Ilango for taking her for a day trip to the beach, or the immaculate noting down of the monthly price range on a diary or saving that one exact dress for an occasion, Chezhiyan paints an actual photograph of opportunities that are normal of a middle-elegance household.
Every overall performance is noteworthy, specifically the kid, through whose eyes Chezhiyan smartly tucks in a message approximately the impact of inconsistent adolescence. Sidharth, who frequently interacts with a friend dwelling within the contrary flat, finds her lacking after a few days, as that circle of relatives would possibly have moved to another rented house.
It is the summer season holidays, and he can not wait to head returned to high school to fulfill all his buddies, however, will it be possible, considering the housing trouble confronted by his mother and father? He loves drawing on the partitions but soon realizes that it’s far something that cannot be achieved in a rented residence.
These asides provide To Let some much-required respiration area.
Talking approximately housing troubles, the issues that Ilango and Amutha face at the same time as searching out homes within their finances reminded me of the Vaadagai Veedu music from Aandavan Kattalai. To Let is an extension of that four-minute tongue-in-cheek music, however, instructed compellingly with planned pacing.
However, because there may be no irreverence in To Let, those troubles experience like overkill at instances, because it almost looks as if Chezhiyan had a checklist of sorts and changed into ticking off each problem with each consecutive scene.
But, this feeling is neutralized by using the performances of the leads. Be it writhing inside the forced humiliation of commencing up their doors to potential destiny tenants, or expressing the frustration of not having sufficient money, Santhosh and Sheela’s performances are riveting, which in turn, nearly mask the shortage of nicely-written secondary characters.
For a person, who grew up on a liberal dose of Ilaiyaraaja and AR Rahman, used to the composer educating me on what emotion to sense in a every scene, Chezhiyan’s selection to get rid of any kind of track in To Let should not have worked.
However, the chirping of the birds, creaking of a rusted fan, spiritual processions on the maximum inopportune moments, and the occasional Raja tune at the radio proved to be as powerful as a regular heritage score.
Credit to Chezhiyan, and sound fashion designer Tapas Nayak, for reminding us that actual-international happenings do occur inside the absence of a mood-shaping piece by a string quartet.
As a movie which received the National Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil (2017), and has been to extra than a hundred movie gala’s, triumphing more than one awards throughout the world, To Let might get written off as one of these ‘artwork movies’, which is probably above the lay man or woman’s comprehension.
However, Chezhiyan, who shot to fame writing a regular column in a Tamil magazine about World cinema, actually knows the way to present a global movie to the Indian audience.
And no matter the filmmaking fashion, and the introduced burden of worldwide recognition, I strongly trust To Let will make a reference to its target audience, absolutely as it tackles a subject that everybody can relate to: Suffering and survival.