I was quite pumped up to watch this movie ever since the director Thiyagarajan Kumararaja (TK) even announced his next movie, Aneedhi Kadhaigal (then-title of Super Deluxe). While, the first look and even the poster predominately had Vijay Sethupathi portraying a transwoman, I was pretty sure that the movie is more than just Vijay Sethupathi and his transwoman character in it. And, I am so happy that it was true. Also, this is the first time an almost three hours long film sans songs kept me hooked to the screen. So, yayay!
When one casts a brilliant actor like Vijay Sethupathi, there is an obligation to either make the story revolve around him with him taking 90% of the screen time or to make every other cast member strong, perfect, and powerful enough to make the movie well-balanced. And, Super Deluxe falls in the second category.
The story or rather the stories revolve around lives of a couple in arranged marriage, Mukil and Vembu (Fahad & Samantha), an estranged husband (who returns as transwoman) Shilpa, a modest wife Jothi, and their enthusiastic son Raasu Kutty (Vijay Sethupathi, Gayathri, Ashwanth), four adolescent boys, a former actress Leela (Ramya Krishnan), Arputham (who recently turned into a super religious cult leader after some lifesaving incident) (Mysskin), and a pervert cop, Berlin (Bagavathi Perumal). The stories happen parallelly over a span of two days. How each of their lives get changed in one day and whether they survive that fateful day or not forms the story.
The movie is just a warehouse of popculture references that is slightly sautéed with philosophy. Just like in Aaranya Kaandam, where the director takes the story around “Ethu Thevayo Athu Dharmam (What you need, that becomes Dharma),” here also the stories revolve around the same philosophy among many others.
I loved how the characters are unapologetic about their identity and traits. Be it Vembu, who states to her husband about sleeping with her ex-boyfriend, in a matter-of-fact tone or Shilpa, who calmly and pragmatically explains to her son about transgenderism. There are one too many scenes that would definitely pissboil a lot of conservative audience. For example, when Leela, a former actress, played by Ramya Krishnan, says something on the lines of, “Amman ah paakaravangaluku Amman, itha paakaravangaluku Item. Aana, epovume naan Leela thaan. (People who saw me in the role of a goddess, see me as a goddess. People who saw me in a porn movie, see me as a pornstar. But, to me, I am always Leela (her name)).” That particular dialogue is just out-of-the-world. Mr. Radha Ravi, I hope you watch this movie, and that dialogue hits you hard.
Another scene which I totally loved was when Mukil asks “Athu ena jaathi veri? Desatha vechi piricha patru, baashai madham vechi piricha kalacharam, ithey jaathi vechi piricha veri ah? Athu thappu na ithuvum thappu.” I kind of always wondered the same thing, sometimes even out loud to friends. Any kind of discrimination is wrong, irrespective of whether it is by caste, religion, language, or nationality.
I could go on and on quoting such beautiful instances from the movie. To quote one last scene that still lingers in my mind, around the climax when Arputham is confused about the presence of almighty, Leela asks a casually nihilistic question.
Coming to the overall plotline, I loved how the movie was not preachy even though every single character in it had grey shades and was ‘morally’ imperfect. There were two scenes, which exactly depicted, where the director was steering the end of the movie to: 1. When Mukil cribs about the power cut and Vembu positively reassures him that power would be back, and he says “Iva periya pathini paaru, iva sonna current varathuku,” and the power comes back immediately. 2. When Shilpa curses the pervert cop, Berlin saying he will die, he says, “En pondatilam pathini, ava saabam eh palikala, ivalthulam enga?” I was pretty sure that the fate of the first scene and the second would be quite similar.
All these poignantly alluring scenes pragmatically says Fuck You to the society and its stereotypical standards and notions.
There was a scene after Leela gives a casual yet heartfelt talk to her son. The moment she walks off, her son still feels disgusted about his mom’s former profession and makes a spiteful remark. For a moment, I felt that it was so rude and unnecessary, but when the whole theatre erupted in loud cheers to it (even louder than when VJS’s character made her entry), I realized how nonchalantly TK has shown the reality of an average human’s mindset with that remark.
And, needless to say, the music, cinematography, art design, editing, and the sound design were all brilliant, but I am not a movie reviewer (hence not the right person) to review those aspects. Oh, last but not the least, Ashwanth (the kid who played Raasu Kutty, son of Shilpa & Jothi) won my heart, kidney, brain, and everything.
Well, I could go on and on about this movie, but I would wrap this post up here. Hit me up, if you want to discuss about this movie or want to watch it again, so we can find all the pop culture references (I missed a bunch of them as the story kept me on the edge of my seat).