Saw 'Salangai oli' today. I've seen it once as a kid, did'nt find it interesting then cos it did not have any action sequences! I kept saying it was a great movie back then just so that i was not left out.
Seeing it as a grown up was ofcourse an altogether different experience. It traces the life of an extremely gifted and passionate dancer-Balakrishnan(played brilliantly by 'Kamal Hasan'), who dreams of learning all indian dance forms and evolve a collaborativedance form. It is a story of unfulfilled love, shattered dreams, lofty ambitions broughtdown to earth and drowned in alcohol. It ends with Bala getting some solace. He passes on his art-baton to the daughter of the love of his life and seeks his redemption. Jayapradha as 'Madhavi', the love of 'Bala's' life and his redeemer, looked ethereal, and acted amazingly well.While there were certain aspects of the movie i could not relate to, it had me totally involved.
Now, in a movie with a similar setting, if Bala had achieved whatever he set out to achieve in Dance, and also found Madhavi's love, the movie would'nt have been half as moving, and no one would be talking about it 22 years after its release.
Anguish, pain, sadness and suffering offer themselves to art in a way happiness and fulfilment can never dream of. They are simply much more potent realms of expression. A happy story about simple simon cannot create the kindof impact that a 'Of human bondage' or a 'Golden gate' would. A painter born in a rich aristocratic family cannot generate the kindof curiosity and interest that a penniless painter, who painted a self-portrait with a ear cut off(Vincent Van Gogh), can.
I've tried to remain a happiness-seeking optimist most of my life (re-forged at some points, thanks to influences from 'Atlas shrugged', 'Fountain head' and 'We, the living'), but, to be honest, grief is a much stronger and more persistent emotion than happiness-which is sporadic and almost always fleeting. If you aggree with this, then this is probably why art-expressions tempered with anguish seep in more easily and impact people in a very telling way. I dont say that this is universal, but i guess this would apply to a sizeable populace.
This one, all grown up!
9 months ago