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.