Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Gayathri - Revisiting Tamil Cinema 12

Rajarathnam (Rajinikanth) is trying to persuade Gayathri (Sridevi) not to put off the light during their “first night”. The murals on the wall are painted with people looking at the bed. This might be the hint of what is going to come in the film.

I missed the title credits, so I was keen to know on how Panchu Arunachalam (Screen writer) could have conceived this kind of story. Then it struck me that this story is from Sujatha, which was published in a newspaper daily. As usual, critics say the film didn’t stick to Sujatha writing. That’s not exactly true.

Translating letters into visual medium is difficult, most of the Tamil films had failed in this process, but what a filmmaker gets from a novel is a unique kind of story, which stands apart from the usual story-line. (These are observations from film makers, who tried to make films from novels).

Gayathri, the film is one such example of a unique story, which has pornography as a plot! So when the screen writer adjusts and rewrites it for the film, there are certain minor and major adjustments to be made. 

I had to read the actual story after watching the film; I must say the film sustained 50% of the short novel.

The overlooking murals on the bedroom are a visual way of storytelling (This description of the bed room is not in the novel). The film maintains the suspense, at least for Gayathri (Sridevi). The first part of the film is where she connects the dots. 

It was like Abhimanyu breaking into Chakraviyugam- the setup and confrontation is OK, but when it comes to the resolution, the film slips into the conventional story telling. All the gritty narration breaks up loose, with the introduction of Ganesh (Jai Shankar), the lawyer, when he finds the notebook. The film makes a U-turn. It is now more an action-thriller; it must have been a surrealistic-suspense. 

The first half is set with minimal characters and single-location, later it moves to a much wider area of club-song and hotel rooms. Ganesh and Chellapa (Ganesh friend) could have been portrayed bit serious, but instead, the director directly transcribed the naughty and wittiness of Ganesh & Vasanth (Chellapa in the film) from the novel to screen, which sounded like a James Bond film. And, in this whole process, Sridevi is left alone, we don’t even see her on screen for a while!! Maybe the director ran out of her call sheet.


Other Tamil films you might be interested from this "Revisiting" series- Manal KayaruMay MadhamTaj MahalBaashaMMKRHey RamSabapathyRaja PaarvaiVikram16 Vayathinile, Veedu


  1. Yes I know about this mall is very good style in chennai. Last time Aluminium Scaffolding with toy machine is great looking.

  2. One of the best movie ever made in Tamil Cinema, thanks to Sujatha Sir. I used to hear only couple of songs from Gayathri movie but never expected it would turn to be an awesome thriller. Watched it few years back in Youtube, and felt ashamed how could I missed this movie in my childhood/teenhood. Purchased this novel online from Sujatha Sir website, read it, and felt no way this movie is close to what Sujatha sir had written, his screenplay was ultimate and one would feel thrill rushing into their bloodstream. Not even Rajeshkumar can bring this amazing crime screenplay in a Novel. Hatsoff to Sujatha sir, we will definitely miss his writings.

    Coming to this core storyline of this Novel/Movie, hidden camera in a newly wed traditional innocent girl.. something new to Indian cinema and I don't remember watching such a movie ever in Tamil Cinema.. Sikappu Rojakkal, Moodu Pani, Satham Podathey.. very few with good thriller script. (offcourse Anjathey and Yutham Sei with different genre)

    This movie was released in 7 Oct 1977, so at least around 1970 to 75 or even earlier, writer could have made this script reading similar incidents around the world - Bluefilm culture/hidden cameras.. etc. I was wondering how the world would have been cruel with psychopaths and sociapaths around 1970s and 80s - To name similar incidents..Serial Killers Leonard Thomas Lake and Charles Ng from California early 1980s - Bluefilm, hidden cameras, torture, rape, murder.. a culture which prevailed pro digital era. Who knows it would have been more worse now in this digital age......

  3. Just to add... Producer and Director were very brave to make this film in late 70s. Sridevi just lived as innocent Gayathri in this movie.. and Rajini Sir offcourse no words. Once again Best Movie EVER....

    1. Ganesh, Thanks for stopping by here and taking your time to comment your views.
      Try Vikram novel.