Cuckoo (Tamil, 2014)
Love originates from the eyes and dwells in heart. This is the usual way many of us fancifully define love interests. But how can you match this definition for a couple who could never see the light of their days? Love beyond doubt has proved as the antidote for all the hatred in the world. Love glues hearts with sensual moments, whose magic can be realized only when felt. Like the rest of the Indian Films Tamil films have romanticism as the predominant subject of exploration. Though a legion of films hit the screen every Friday, only a few films tackle the subject of love with the same fragility as love itself. When that happen it would be a rare moment when the line of separation between the awareness of watching a fiction and witnessing a moment as lively as a real life experience fade.
Cukoo (2014) is neither a different love story nor a tale differently told. Where it gathers its charm is the world it talks about; of people in the nexus of emotions, it portrays. Cuckoo is a character driven cinema designed near perfect with minutest details. The definition of beauty is purely subjective. The perception of this world by us is entirely different from those who can’t see this world. This film enters into the world of the blind unraveling the way they perceive the world around them.
Raju Murugan, the journalist turned director of this film, in his maiden attempt to transport the viewer to a world that is known but never experienced. The Docu-drama style of filmmaking has rendered an authentic touch to the film, where he plays a role, blending him real self as an integral part of the fiction that unfolds.
Cuckoo is a tale of romance between Tamizh (Dinesh), a blind singer in the local music band and Suthanthira Kodi (brilliantly portrayed by debutant actor Malavika), a blind teacher trainee. The film traces the ups and downs of the life of blind people leading very ordinary lives and their emotions with utmost genuinity. The character sketches are perfectly etched. Not just the lead characters but every character, who either fills a longer screen time or someone who passes the frame for a minute, is designed with unique traits that are inventive yet realistic. The squint eyed and tilted headed Tamizh, rolling balls and fluttering short temper of Kodi, the subtleness of Sangeetha , the jovial Ilango with a characteristic snort and giggle the film is full of memorable characters.
The plot line and the unfolding scenes are predictable though. But the movie that portrays the lives of ordinary people is strikingly ordinary. That’s what takes the film closer to the audience. Experiencing the delicacy of ordinariness has become a rarity in the contemporary glitzy and larger- than- life style of filmmaking. Cuckoo comes as a soothing spring, a breeze in the summer.
There have been many films in the past that have portrayed love interests of physically challenged people. But most of those works banked on poignant portrayal of the miseries of the lives of those men and women, eliciting only pity from the audience. Physically challenged people’s life isn’t all about misery and agony. Those films were actually half-portrayals of their lives creating wrong notions and assumptions. Physically challenged people need love and care and most of them never claim pity. Yet we see such people begging for pity, which sprouts only from societal rejection and isolation. This film showcase- perhaps for the first time in the mainstream cinema, in flesh and blood- the colourful other half of the world of visually challenged.
Dhinesh as Tamizh has rendered a life time performance. Both the lead actors’ histrionics are so realisitic one can hardly believe that they aren’t truly blind, and that is where they triumph. Every single romantic tale in our memories would have poetic moments that linger forever. The lover with an ability to identify his girl’s voice and even footsteps exclusively amid the chaotic babel of the railway station, a frame where a train emerges out of a flute, the inventive ways the blind friends associate and comprehend the world around them via sounds and touches, this film has plenty of poetic moments.
Cuckoo bridges the gap between the artistic films and commercial flicks by adopting most of the requisites of the mainstream cinema without completely giving up the realistic tone it aspires to stick on with. Though stretchy and overdosed melodramatic towards the end, designed to evoke audience’s reaction, this is a feel good film that you’ll love and remember for a long time.