We had been warned. The mind boggling trailer held the key to the movie, just like the lonesome key dangling on the rear-view mirror of a dark green splashed late eighties Mahindra that a cohort of characters traverse in. Or so we thought. The trailer of Super Deluxe, in a voice-over by one of the movie’s principal actors, begins as a normal drone before transforming into a searingly breathless bluster.
Delivered by Vijay Sethupathi, it is about a tiger chasing a man in the backdrop of a potpourri of sequences from the movie; the truth be told, it is the zany brilliance of the team behind the film chasing the audience, a willing prey.
It is a reckless pursuit through a rabid screenplay that has our insides rupturing with ecstasy, a camera that pries into and hovers above illuminating at times sometimes dropping a veil over the characters, scenes that smolder casually but makes us levitate in its orgasmic rush. Ultimately we hurtle down a cliff in a roller-coaster-like tumble, tripping and brushing over wild overhangs as its vines of ecstasy coil around and strangle us, we submit humbly. Near the climax of it all a luscious dangling honeycomb beckons and we lick, slurp it all in, a dribble at first, yearning for a flood of it later. Come to the End-um and because we have to take the Exit-um, we don’t. Bappi Lahiri is now serenading us, we sit bush whacked, in a pool of sweeping wetness of sweat, spent. And then we yearn to do it all over again.
Written by a trio of Nalan Kumaraswamy, Neelan K Shekhar and Mysskin, and singly orchestrated by Thiagarajan Kumararaja this is something so beautifully original that you want to cry, seeped as we are in a sea of mediocrity these days when it comes to big screen writing.
Super Deluxe is essentially a rebelling Madras Kumaran in gay abandon, never Chennai. At first you think the buildings, the sensibilities of the characters, the emotions are so nineties Madras, but 3D blinkers to watch educational videos of human biology on compact discs? No way they had those then. That’s when the whole plot urbanizes in another story track where Mugil (Fahad Faasil) complains of the painful web of surveillance cameras, which is so now. The trapeze artistes behind Super Deluxe go on to torment us with another trajectory of Shilpa (Vijay Sethupathi) and Raasukutty, that is a gem of the keystone in many ways that keeps the other exquisite pearls on the tiara lodged together.
We are induced, drawn in, the adrenaline flowing as the camera voyeuristically follows a Chengalpattu or maybe a Thiruvanmiyur famous five whose only aim and purpose in their lives’ specific juncture is to get high and off on those scientifically and at the same time practically validated educational compact discs.
One such episode of this harmless hobby sends Soori running hellishly homeward bound, his soul strung out, the colored glasses still on, before being stabbed by his own horniness, a pert pointed knob entering him sharply. His mother (Ramya Krishnan), the target of his ambush who had played a part in the above videos has now changed track, wife to a raving disciple in search of his god who had saved him from an all consuming tsunami, the same one that had cleansed Shilpa, who inside a dimly fleetingly lit subway finally rubs sense into Arputham (Mysskin).
The Vaembu-Mugil story is the one full of edgy thrills with a hairy cadaver that had earlier sent a woman on top into fierce spasms during the introduction, putting in a comely performance of its short lifespan.
Here the camera is uninterested in the act, as it surveys the environs within which this beautiful organic human propulsion is taking place. Later in a cocky scene, the deceived Mugil delivers a soliloquy to his nemesis now in a lifeless head-tilt with black shades on, wondering aloud what Vaembu (Samantha Akkineni) saw in him, all the while gazing enviously at it’s nether region housing the flaccidness, a major partner in crime. Vaembu entices but the obsessive crush with her eyeliner and the Maybelline eyes seem way too chiseled and stay on too long on a character that is at once saturnine, martial maybe a wee lunatic. The writing here, as the repartee between Mugil and Vaembu stretch on about who is in in the wrong as their life races to tip above a marital precipice, gets labored and you really want this to segue into another groove.
There are motifs strewn all around, on a t-shirt it was surely the head of a Paralititan dinosaur rearing its head with its first two hinds, looming in the white sketch, but wait that’s only the tail going around the back belonging to a pussy. Now a pussy is the pet of the local gully don who has the gall to meow so often when the boss is busy verbally disposing of three random dudes, and the don does a repeat, this time with stock leather kissing their cheeks. Look for claustrophobic shots of intensely peopled streets with all sorts of businesses as the camera halts on a petrified Shilpa and right behind on a dated, abused and screaming yellow wall, the eyes pick out the words magic event scrawled across, what a mojo.
Wait for the nude alien, appearing to the risqué trio as black plastic bags rise up defying gravity paying obeisance to the scene, as she clones one of them to keep her company in this big bad human infested earth.
The adorable Raasukutty’s house is a museum of artifacts in itself; there are tales yelling out in the assemblage of articles and knick-knacks, the paraphernalia that adorn the walls bolstered safely by massive black pillars. Here we are immersed in witty ripostes by a maverick grandmother uttering such marvelous one liners at her spouse that the lackadaisical English subtitling gasps to keep itself abreast of what is unfolding. In the most emotionally shattering act of all the pieces, Shilpa repeated earthy intonation of his child’s name splinters the heart, the impassioned kisses of a father, cemented as a failure, stooping to conquer the boy’s heart.
Shilpa, earlier Manickam, a trans woman exhibits, no shows off nonchalantly the intricacies of folding a sari that has to travel a great deal to conceal quite a girth of a stomach, while the gob smacked wife looks on with eyes welling with sadness, or is it jealousy?
In another affecting scene a schoolmaster patiently conducts a masque on the word ‘go’ to a distraught Shilpa beseeching to be allowed inside to meet Raasukutty’s friends. Manickam struts around in Shilpa’s world with the perfect 56 incher, the broadness ebulliently pitched for by Vijay Sethupathi himself. This my friends is the real thing, anything else we have been marauded with in times recent can now be deemed a con.
If there is something you begin to feel awfully sorry for it is the two child actors, the inordinately long time they will have to wait to be witness to an enterprise in which they were a part of. Unforgivable. By the time they major it out in life and probably take to film school, the works of their creator would be the perfect material to begin with, no doubt.
So the next time you are in Madras or near about, make it a point to hunt for a tea-shop that’s located just across a police station, enjoy the tea but relish it with a few coconut biscuits and since you are already there just look around a nook here or a cranny there, for a television brand being surreptitiously sold by the name of Flying Monkey. While at it, take a detour back to the police station once more and ask them if the case involving the death of one Sub Inspector Berlin had been solved yet.
The writer is a social development consultant and loves to write on art, culture and films, based in New Delhi.