Subramaniapuram

There is no mistaking the ambitions of this low-budget first film scripted, directed, and acted by Sasikumar. The film was hailed for its careful mounting of a mise-en-scène set in the 1980s: longhaired men, wide-legged trousers, and droopy collars. Stripped of the nostalgia associated with costume dramas, the film offers an unvarnished look at the friendships among five men living in the neighborhood of Subramaniapuram in Madurai. Desultoriness plagues the unemployed lads whose long days are squandered on liquor and dodging the law. Youthful indiscretions are not what the film celebrates; rather, it's how the stagnant misery of wide-open days infects the bonds between men. Political ambitions, murder, and romance mobilize a skid into betrayals and shifting alliances, further heightened by wanton murder and stabbings. With such a searing debut, Sasikumar has permanently exited the ranks of Ameer Sultan's assistants.

-Lalitha Gopalan and Anuj Vaidya

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