Azhuthu Ezhuthu (Yuva in Hindi) was a movie so ahead of its time in many ways. Arvind Kejriwal whenever he is free from the cough syrup , should have watched this movie several times. The movie was far sighted to say that good people can come into politics – the template of Arvind Kejriwal the IIT IAS guy , its the college topper who takes on the system ( unlike Shiva in 1990) . But again its a Mani movie, politics is the backdrop but its again relationships, the changing of romance, the gradual exploration of everything that takes the cake as well.
The 3 stories in the movie, the ruffian ( Madhavan-Meera in Tamil, Abhishek-Rani in Hindi), the topper politician ( Surya-Esha in Tamil, Ajay Devgn-Esha in Hindi) and the casual escapist engineer ( Siddharth-Trisha in Tamil, Vivek- Kareena in Hindi) are intertwined in the politics but also have very different progressions on the romance- love- lust equations.
The ruffian is disappointed with marital strife after the rush of blood and hormones ( Arre yaar, roj pani peene ke liye poori tanki ki kya jaroorat hai) .
The progressive topper says why hide oneself in unwanted dilemmas - more from a clear thinking ideology - lets live in to his long time girlfriend
The casual are the ones in dilemmas , the playful banter of whether a casual fling is ok or not ( haath hathao nahi to 'gadbad' ho jayegi) or an agreed plan of action that was templatized by many Indian dating couples ( like kissing is ok, no gadbad principle)
Set in 2004, when the Indian purchasing power was seen in the innumerable malls and coffee shops that were mushrooming, the Dil Chahta Hai generation of young upstarts was emerging. Post 1995, Indian engineering institutes were not teaching quantum mechanics but really a foundation for the quantum leap that a dollar denominated salary was capable of providing to ones life when works in the right industry. Slowly freedom of choice was a reality and it reflected in the independent thinking mindset of the youth. They were doing things because 'Dil Chahta Hai' and not because they were supposed to. ( As said in my previous article on coming of age movies, Dil Chahta Hai needs a treatise for it achieved as a movie) .
Mani Ratnam has famously said that I focus on depicting the now , and this movie is the now slowly changing into the future. And its amazing how he has trained the camera on the now, even before moments marketing emerged in my industry, Mani Ratnam was doing it. And how aptly titled 'Yuva'.
Add to it his absolute mastery on song picturization, setting lyrics in motion , words that will only hit you on the third watch , clearly showing whats on the mind of the protagonists and providing you mirror and canvas for reflection and aspiration at the same time.
This song that comes after Surya asks his girlfriend to live in - is masterful in the questions it asks, ( I am taking some creative liberties in the translation)
Can you come and live in with me - tolerating the full me instead of the nice me ?
She goes confused and excited - thinking about
If I say the truth will you love me? The truth is the bodily lust today is today overpowering the heart that want to love. Will you forgive me after the act?
Its sheer mastery to put the question right where it is and depict just the now. Again AR taking Adnan Sami in a Tamil song for that adrenalin.
At the same time I want to add the Goodbye song , where again the picturization shows exactly what the couple is doing - living the post college exuberance but largely commitment phobic. And the question of 'are we serious about this relationship and laughing it off' Again love the Trisha- Sid version because they look the age. Just like Dil Chahta Hai immortalized the Goa trip with friends, this is the sneak break you dont talk much about . Look at how the song starts and can you imagine this move without ARR? And how can I forget Trisha Krishnan :) - the modern Iyer girl in Tamil cinema..
And at the other end - is the somewhat ' kabhi neem neem , kabhi shahad shahad" - here is the Abhishek -Rani version , since Rani elevates the song much better than the Tamil one.