Movie Review : Varumaiyin
Niram Sivappu (Tamil, 1980)
Business Government & Society - Assignment 1
Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu (Red is the colour of Poverty) is a Tamil film released in the year 1980. The film was written and directed by K.Balachander who is considered as one of the finest film makers in the industry and acclaimed for his bold portrayals of social and human issues. Kamal Haasan, a three time national award winner for best actor, played the lead role in the film. The cast includes Sridevi, Dhilip, S.Vee. Sekhar, Poornam Viswanathan and Pratap Pothan. Film songs and background score were composed by M.S. Viswanathan. The film is considered as one of the best movies made on social issues. This film is a drama that takes place in New Delhi in 1980 when the unemployment was quite high.
The film is about three friends Rangan (the protagonist), Appu and Thambu from Tamilnadu who are educated but unemployed and live together in New Delhi looking for jobs. Rangan an MA (Philosophy) graduate is an ideologist is the son of a famous Carnatic vocalist. Rangan has left home after having a disagreement with his father who refuses to recommend him for a job to his businessmen friends. An avid fan of the revolutionary Tamil poet Bharathiyar, Rangan refuses to cheat or lie and is intolerable to social injustices and voices against them. This behaviour causes him to lose every job that comes his way. Appu on the other hand, after losing hope of getting a job, resorts to all sorts of misdemeanours such as casting false votes, kidnapping a baby just to get a handful of money. Thambu is untalented 1
and indecisive and just wants to become rich and get settled in life and is looking for the right way to do so. Inspite of their contrasting characters, poverty is the common aspect that binds them together. They live miserable lives applying for jobs and smoking cigarette left overs they find in the street. Rangan meets Devi, a drama artist who works in the drama troupe owned by Pratap, the son of a rich businessman. Devi’s father is a gambler and makes her life miserable by taking the little money she earns. Pratap is an arrogant, rude and short tempered person but is in love with Devi. Rangan and Devi love each other but Rangan fearing that he cannot financially support Devi breaks up with her. Devi tries to help Rangan by agreeing to marry Pratap, despite her will otherwise, in return for the favour of Pratap getting Rangan a job in Pratap’s father’s firm. Rangan out of self-righteousness discards the job offer. Meanwhile Appu marries a rich widow for the wealth and gets settled. Thambu, after not getting job for 8 years, loses hope trying to find a way to earn money and ends up as a mentally disturbed tramp. Finally Rangan joins a barber shop and is finally happy that he found a job where he doesn’t have to work against his conscience. He marries Devi and they start a new life.
The film portrays the harsh realities of Poverty and Unemployment in a slightly exaggerated and cinematic manner. The film hold the failure of the political system and bureaucracy of the Corporate world as the primary reasons for the educated youth live in a world of poverty and unfulfilled dreams.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The films greatest strength is the strong social message it conveys. The strong theme of the movie is complimented by a good star cast, witty and sarcastic dialogues, effective writing
and screenplay and good music score. The film has almost no short comings except for the few commercial aspects and little dramatized screenplay.
The acting was very natural though the characters themselves were little dramatized to typecast the part of the society Each character in the movie is unique and represents a particular community of the society. While Rangan represents the idealistic youth, Devi represents the oppressed...
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