Jannal Orum (By the Window)
Direction: Karu Pazhaniappan
Cast: Parthiban, Vimal, Ramana, Poorna, Manisha Yadav
Running time: 130 minutes
Tamil cinema is still bold enough to take the viewer to the village and dress up its actors in lungis and half-saris. However, these films, while touching upon novel plots and offering a different kind of look, seem to lack in finesse, which Bollywood has perfected. So, a lot many of Tamil movies have an unpolished look about them.
Karu Pazhaniappan’s latest Tamil work, Jannal Orum (By the Window), is set at the foothills of the Tamil Nadu’s temple town of Palani, and the camera captures the freshness and greenery in all their splendour. In many ways, the story unfolds through the windows of a bus which runs between Palani and Pannaikadu – with those inside and outside forming the dramatis personae.
Parthiban’s Karuppu is the driver of the bus, while Vimal plays Subbiah the conductor, and during their daily journey, the two meet a variety of men and women, some who commute every day on work. We have a habitual drunk, we have a young woman (Manisha Yadav as Kalyani) and we have a vendor with his basket of hens.
Pazhaniappan enlarges his canvas to let his story step off the bus – where we have a church priest, a man whom we later learn is obsessively in love, an elderly couple waiting for their son to return from Surat so that they can marry him to the girl they themselves have adopted and nurtured. In this crossroad of characters, the bus swerves sharply one evening to dive into a murder – presenting the curve in an otherwise straight narrative.
Jannal Orum is a touchingly simple tale – with a romance thrown in between Subbiah and Kalyani (who works in a telephone company) and some peppy lines that are mercifully neither clichéd nor stupid. Yes, the songs are an unnecessary intrusion in an otherwise captivating script with some very natural performances by the lead actors.