Driving Through Kadhal Desam

Its been raining in Seattle for the last three months. And everyday, yeah every single day, it would rain during my morning commute. I drive briefly to a park & ride, where I take the bus to Downtown Seattle. That’s when I usually listen to NPR. I wasn’t listening, today.

After a brief peek, last tuesday, the sun god finally came out yesterday. And it was a day when the whole of Seattle chose to lock themselves inside their houses and hope for the victory of hawks. They didn’t. But the sun came out. And it’s joyful news. Coming here from the water-‘less’ area like Chennai, I enjoyed the rain. But then just after six months, I started to appreciate the sun.

So today with the sun beaming across my face through the car window, I chose to listen to Rahman’s music. Hello Doctor from Kadhal Desam. It was like gulping a full pack of Full Throttle. Such excitement.

I have a special softcorner for Kadhal Desam. Donno if I had mentioned it here but the reasons are numerous. While KD was being shot, I visited the mahabalipuram sets of Kadhal Desam and hence I could always relate to it. Though sets were just made of savukku kattais with the face of modern architecture, it was a cool attempt in kollywood. Rahman’s songs were a big plus. Infact the biggest. Without Ennai Kaanavillaye or Mustafa Mustafa the movie wouldn’t have hit the box-office, even for the first few weeks. And yeah, we bunked our second day in college to watch Kadhal Desam (for the third time!!) at Devi. It was gang of 20+ kids entering college and bunking the second day to run around the theatre in a train-like fashion, during the songs.

Above all I knew tons of college mates, imagining themselves as Vineeth and Abbas, trying to walk behind the girls just like that Ennai Kanavillaye song. One friend would tell me, Machan, naama onnum abbas mathiri periya persnalty illa da. Athanaala ippdikaa orama olinchu, ennai kaanavillaye paattula vara vinneth mathiri, namma figurea paapom. There is this other lot of guys with the so-called figure madikara personality who usually rode samurais and splendors, who carried a helmet with flashy colors and a question mark sticker on their helmet windshields. They usually said they got the figures. None could confirm that however. There is also the other set of ‘counter-culture’ boys who bunked all the lectures and sat in the cricket ground beneath a puliya maram to start a club called puliya maram priends kilub. These dudes get to the listen to the color color stories of both the other groups and finally be the naataamai. FYI, they only smoked filter kings and the guy coming with an issue should buy a single tea and filter kings for the others. Infact most times he lighted the cigarette to the counter-culture thalai. Sounds like Godfather ? But its true.

Me. I belonged somewhere in-between all of the them, spending time in ground, class, library and ofcourse theatre. If the counter-culture guys needed some time pass, they sent a guy searching for me and they would tell, dei namma paruppa isthukinnu vaa. And they were always happy to have me in the gang briefly for they were so excited about the stories I told. Like a first time director telling his proposed story to a producer, I would tell stories with vivid descriptions and some exaggerated facial expressions. From Aandipatti to Amsterdam, the stories opened and closed all around the world, with turning points in the right places. And I told them that I would shoot this particular story as a magnum opus and the other sci-fiction, which I kathachufied the previous day would be my third film. Kamal to Rajini to Nasser and sometimes even SPB became many characters of my stories and these CC[counter culture] guys believed I would really strike chord with films someday. Huh !!

The reason I say this is because Kadhal Desam reflected the everyday college. Though it had its own set of kollywood exaggerations, it was much closer to my college days. And no movie after Kadhal Desam, not even Thulluvatho Ellamai or Kathal Konden or even Yuva come closer to real college scene. Sightu, Fightu, Figure, NIIT, Internetu, Footboard, Sutta Pazham, Single Chayya, Con-donation pees, British Council Library, Hero Puch, Bachelor and Arrears aka Cupu. Some keywords, lotsa memories. What days!!. I am saying this here again but I wish to click my life backwards. I would wish to re-live my college days again. Again.

16 thoughts on “Driving Through Kadhal Desam

  1. LG: This post brought a smile to my face! First oru small doubt about bunking “second day in college”. First year? Wow…
    I have some endearing memories of that movie. Enai kaana villaye was the “lull-me-to-sleep” song. Oh Vennila was the song that figured in my ragging sessions with for almost one whole year (mebbe i’ll post on this next!) and Mustafa never fails to take me on a flash back trip! This was also the last movie I saw with my school gang in Udayam (if I remember right), a couple of days before I went to Thanjavur for my undergrad!
    As for the culture, yes. Your descriptions hit bulls eye. I seem to have tread middle ground too. In my case, it was because of all the “culturals” I seemed to go to between June and November every year and use similar excuses to cut classes, rest of the year too.
    I think people like us had the cleanest and the best fun in our college days and came out without any regrets. My middle ground status was never more apparent than when I went back to my college in December ’02, to meet a few instructors that I was very friendly with. I was introduced by a lady instructor to one other who must have joined when I was in teh final year. She narrowed her eyes when asked if she knew me and replied that she knew me very well as a part of the “Mechanical pasanga” who stood outside class and never let anybody (i.e., gals, lady lecturers etc.) pass by, in peace. Ofcourse, if you ask my other friends, they will laugh and call me the “marana sombhan” of the class. LOL..
    (P.S: I have never managed to figure out who sang Enai Kannavillaye along with SPB. Raaga mentions OS. Arun and Rafee, while I seem to have read somewhere that Aslam Mustafa who was somewhat of a Rahman regular at that point was the other singer)

  2. hey anti,

    marana sombhan, mechanical pasanga :)) nice descriptions. and yeah i missed about culturals but is this the only post on my college galattas.

    SPB, rafee and aslam mustafa were the ones mentioned on the casette covers. i never knew read OS arun being credited to this song. what cool vocals.

  3. Very nostalgic post. I remember watching this in Devi with my family (!).
    And what happened to KT Kunjumon? Most of his films were superhits, right? He suddenly disappeared from the scene.

  4. /* I belonged somewhere in-between all of the them, spending time in ground, class, library and ofcourse theatre */

    I guess u missed college canteen in the above list 😉

  5. ippdi peeling aakittengale….. sometime bak, i had written a similar comment on someone else’s blog….

    mudhalvan padathula oru dialog varum:

    “pugazh, VCR la irukkara maathiri vaazhkailayum oru rewind button irunthaa evvlavu nalla irukkum??”

    by arjuns dad….. sujatha at his elegant best…. romba simple aa oru vishayam… but how it fits evryone’s life…. awesome….

  6. Ur post teleported me to my 12th std..easily the best of my academic years. With the all the pressures to score high marks , the way we stole time to enjoy “finer” aspects of life like eating out , cinema , bird watching while simulataneously doing well in acamedics made those moments immensly enjoyable !
    Riding behind my friend’s scooter for Maths tutions in the early morning mist humming oh vennila…. , enjoying the fresh brewed tea in the nearby bakery which plays mustafa all the time, watching this film on its first day after we had flunked our biology paper…..hmmm… memories which i would never trade for anything else in life !! Thanks for the post !!

  7. Lazy,
    I dont have similar feelings with kadhal desam, but after watching the trailor of Adam Sandler’s ‘CLICK’ i too wish i had a Universal Remote control in my life…

  8. Machaaan..
    Kalakals..I belonged to Anti’s gang and definitely college was the best phase of my life too till now!
    Few more words that I would like to add..
    attendance
    proxy
    library dues
    kadala
    culturals
    dumb-c
    HOD
    results
    mess bill
    labcoat(ponnungaldhu)
    observationu
    recordu
    readings
    grp study
    and so on…

  9. Same Blood (In Vadivel tone – Manadai Thirudivitai).

    We were on strike during this film release and happened to watch this movie many number of times just to pass the time.

    When ever I hear the songs from this film, I will get an instant hyperlink to the college days.

  10. Kalloori saalai 🙂
    Actually this movie reminds me more of my NIIT days than college days. There were more gujilis in NIIT than in college. Adhuvum Nungambakkam NIIT. Kaekkanuma?

    And BTW birather. Samurai oattinavanga ellam figure madakking personality ledhu 😀 29C,47D(Or was it 47J then?),15F edjtara la dhaan neRaya madakkings nadandhu paathu irukken. Adhuvum footboard la thongittu, jannal orathula irukkara poNNunga kitta books koduthu cover panra giroop keedhe!!!Bada kedinga!

  11. Macchan I’will never forget those days that we are together in our college. It’s really nice to hear those days through your blog da!

  12. lazy, the post brought back memories from 96 when I was in the first year too. devi theatre house full with students watching it for the umpteenth time, waving hands to mustafa, shelling 400 bucks for the audio cd just to listen to mustafa in ‘good’ quality, and lots more ..
    btw, which college did u go to?

  13. Brought back a bunch of memories from my days at Bits…I saw the movie there and many of my friends lit candles although it was forbidden and threw paper bits all around during mustafa, mustafa song…:)

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