Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Kaaka Muttai - 1

After 5 years we went for a movie, mainly because because because of our choices, our daughter has hardly been to a theatre. And what a movie ! I would request every person who can to see Kaaka Muttai - our deepest angst has been addressed in a way that I could only gasp at. It does not matter if it is in Tamil - just see it.

The slum children, their zest for life, their chutzpah, their intense determination, their character. And the way their soul is bought by the intense consumerism they see all around. As represented by the Pizza ! The portals of the glass walled palaces where the rich-and-beautiful eat, and where they may never enter. And the malls where one child gasps, 'oh, they will never let us enter'. And the grandmother explaining to them that the well dressed alone are allowed in because they have money. This one rich child they talk to across the gated fence, which at one stroke show the two world which can never meet. And the mother struggling to raise money to release the father from jail, and this child showing them a pug that cost 25,000/-.

With any moralising, the facts are starkly placed. And one is close to tears many times. The strength of the poor child juxtaposed with the heartbreak in unattainable desires that he is forced to face. This will change some hearts, if anything can. A movie for the times. And a box office hit.

... My daughter was asking about village justice versus legal justice. I tried to explain to her that in the village madhyasthams for 40 sensitive judgements, there have been 4 clearly biased ones. And that the local community decisions factor in many nuances that are lost in court. And that her Naren Thatha, with his million works including land issues and dalit issues, used to make sure he was there in every village madhyastham as an elder, as he beleived in the system of madhyasthams. This was in the bus as we were going to see the movie 'Kaaka Muttai'.

The movie answered her in ways I could not have. The protogonist, a 14 year old boy, was determined to have the widely advertised pizza that leers down every other hoarding at the poor. He and his brother slave carrying coal to make the money, and then finally when 10/- by 10/- they raise the 300/- they get thrown out of the shop because their shirts are frayed. Then starts the effort to save to buy the shirts. Finally at one point the boy takes up a stick to steal a cell phone towards this end, and there is a tense moment when he stands on the knife edge of chooseing criminality or not. Then in a act of frustration he throws down the stick, and makes the choice of not stealing. And proceeds to carry more headloads of coal.

I asked my daughter that if he had stolen, and a just judge had condemned him into a juvenile home, what that would mean. And as this boy was stealing for a pizza and not for hunger, a sensitive judge also would have only condemned him. A community that knows and understands the frustrations and immense pressures of consumerism on those beyond the pale of it can respond with more realism.
It is for my daughter to decide in cases of the poor children stealing and indulging in criminal activities for those consumer items that the better off children in our society use so carelessly who is implicated. The poor children for succumbing to the immense assault on them by ads, and by over cosuming children, Or the 'better off children' for such irresponsible consumeing in a society of the poor.

There are questions for each person, even at the age of fifteen, to figure out in the solitude of their soul.

... Kaaka Muttai is a box office hit movie, which most sensitively places the angst of the slum children yearning for a pizza they see advertised everywhere, and working themselves to the bone towards the 300/-, nearly tempted into theft, and lying at home. A commentry on the city, and on the thoughtless display and consumerism. As epitomised by glass walled restaurants with hungry faces outside the walls watching. I thought it would change hearts and habits.
Today two teenagers went with an adult, saw the movie, and then 'for the heck' went to a Pizza Hut to eat pizzas.
I have nothing to say anymore.

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