Alaipayuthey (The Grand Finale)

The wedding:

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If the wedding where Karthik and Shakti met first was so colourful and had a joyous atmosphere, their own wedding is not far behind in these aspects. Right from Madhavan’s blue shirt and Shalini’s maroon saree to the white garlands and the group of friends and Shakti’s sister pulling their legs and the Registrar making his presence felt through out his screen time, everything is picture perfect! Shot at Kapaleeswarar Temple, the wedding of Karthik and Shakti is the most beautifully picturized wedding sequence in Mani Ratnam’s films what with ‘Mangalyam’ scored by Rahman playing in the background. 🙂 After Karthik cleverly manages to dodge Mrs. Prema outside the temple and runs in, the beat of the song starts and you have Karthik taking the garland in his hand. If Mani Ratnam doesn’t utilize the songs appropriately, who else will? 😉

After that follows yet another set of lovely scenes like the one where Karthik and Shakti are travelling by bus and a lady comes and asks him to get up saying it is ladies’ seat and Karthik asking her, ‘Ungalukku kalyanam aaiducha?’, ’15 years!’, ‘Paavam purushan!’ 🙂 The expressions on the faces of Madhavan and Shalini (Shalini trying her best to put on an act by controlling the laughter) make you enjoy this scene even more! 😉

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Then, the song ‘Snegidhane’! Beautifully shot at Maheshwar temple on the banks of Narmada (Mani Ratnam ensures that he uses at least one location in each of his films that you would want to visit at least once in your lifetime), this song has everything starting from the lighting, excellent choreography and of course, Madhavan and Shalini’s costumes (It’s high time some actors and some men in general, understand that Sherwanis don’t suit all men. Just because Madhavan looks handsome wearing it, it doesn’t mean it will suit every Tom, Dick and Harry! 😛 ).

After the song comes one of the much debated scenes among my friends circle. Everyone keep arguing that Shakti shouldn’t have said that she is already married when Poorni’s ‘in-laws’ ask for her hand for their younger son. Wouldn’t it have been better if she had just said she was not interested in the marriage and at least saved her sister’s wedding from not getting stopped? But, do we all make only the right decisions at all the crucial moments in life? Enough of serious talk!

After this when Karthik and Shakti leave their homes, I like the way the scene shifts from the one where Madhavan and Shalini are in the auto to the scene where Karthik’s friends ‘furnish’ their house with the start of the music of Pachchai Nirame. I feel as though the use of Pachchai Nirame as a BGM for this scene acts as an indication for the happy times ahead in Karthik and Shakti’s life 🙂 Talking about Pachchai Nirame being used as a BGM, the last time when it comes as a BGM in the movie is when Karthik tells Shakti that they will go and visit her father in the hospital the next (the last happy scene in the movie feat. Madhavan and Shalini before the climax).

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The song ‘Kadhal Sadugudu’, followed by the ‘suda suda news’ scene, ‘thaali’ scene and then, the mock ‘fight’ followed by the marking of the dates in the calendar scene are one bunch of sweet scenes. 🙂

Well, we all know what happened in their lives after these happy scenes. 😉

Stills courtesy: The once existent website of Alaipayuthey, Sakhi (Telugu version of the movie) and various other sites.
Slideshow created using slideroll.com Videomaker
(Why has the sharpness of the stills become poor after I uploaded the video! 🙁 )

How can I even think of wrapping up the series of posts on Alaipayuthey without mentioning the one song that means the most to me! It is of course, Pachchai Nirame! It is the only song whose magic is ever-growing right from the first day I watched it/listened to it to this day! Time and again, I have tried to write about it, but I have always failed to do justification to the song. The music, the flute, the words ‘Sakhiye Snegidhiye’, Hariharan’s voice, the locales where the song is shot, the opening shot of the song with Shalini wearing a beautiful green costume and dancing, Madhavan and group ‘dancing’ for the lines ‘Sakhiye’! Is there just a few things in that song that I can pinpoint and say are the best aspects of it! Mani Ratnam and A.R.Rahman rock in this song! I thank them for giving us such a wonderful song! 🙂

With this I am wrapping up the series of posts on Alaipayuthey! I thank each and everyone of you for all the words of appreciation and for patiently reading my posts! 🙂 At this point of time, it would be highly unfair if I don’t thank the two persons with whom I have had endless discussions on Alaipayuthey for the past 7 years and all these posts were born only out of those discussions! They are my Mom and my sister! 🙂

P.S.: This is my 100th post! 😀 Thank you my dear readers! 🙂 I wanted my 100th post to be on Alaipayuthey. But, when I started writing, I found that I had lots to write about this movie. So, I decided that posts 96 to 100 will only be on Alaipayuthey! I will try to revisit the music of Alaipayuthey in a detailed manner sometime later!

P.S.1: Does anyone have the unedited version of the song ‘Alaipayuthey’ featuring the scenes where Shalini sings that song to Madhavan in their house? If any of you have a DVD having that song, please give me the details. I would be most grateful! Thanks in advance!

17 thoughts on “Alaipayuthey (The Grand Finale)

  1. daneel olivaw

    what! didn’t even know it existed. do post about that song, picturization, and youtube clippings if available.
    as an aside, thanks for this series of posts. they have really helped me, in a lot of ways. thanks a ton.

    Reply
  2. Prabhu

    If you get that video, give it to me too 😀
    Its always a pleasure reading your posts on Rahman and Mani sir after a hard day at work. Nice post young lady 😉

    Reply
  3. Bharath

    Hello there

    Wanted to go through all the blogs on Alai Payuthey before leaving my comment…

    Firstly – Brilliant analysis… Especially of the complex ups and downs in their relationship…

    Alai Payuthey is not my favourite Mani movie… Its a brilliant movie no doubt about that… But I’m still waiting for your Nayakan review 🙂

    Alai Payuthey to me was Mani Ratnam’s attempt to create a simple down to earth movie after his Iruvar and Dil Se failed with the audiences. The difference in the syles from Dil Se to Alai Payuthey is starkly evident… The cinematography moved from ad style lighting and sequences to simplistic camerawork in Alai Payuthey… Music was strikingly different – To me, Dil Se is one of Rahman’s best ever, and Alai Payuthey is one of his sweetest… Moving from SRK to a new face (who was later to be the actor with the maximum number of Mani films), from Manisha to Shalini…

    Why its not my favourite Mani movie is exactly for these reasons.. No doubt he has captured the complexities of a marriage very well, the ups and downs and the struggles, but he has stripped the movie of what he is best known for to achieve simplicity – classy backlighting, camerawork, and powerful acting (Kamal in Nayakan, Shyamilee in Anjali and Keerthana in KM)…

    Having said that, as I mentioned, the movie is brilliant by any standards… Madhavan’s acting as a newcomer surpassed that of some established stars in Indian cinema… I remember the look of anxiety on his face when he’s on the bike looking for Shakti… And how his expressions in the movie range from anxious to that sweet smile of his to anger… Of course one of the classic lines is “Will you jump from the train – No”, ranking along with “Are you a good man or a bad man” from Nayakan…

    One of the best song sequences in Mani’s films to me is the opening song with Maddy listening to it on the bike… Brilliant – Just a shot of Maddy moving to the beats of the song on his bike… Only Mani can do that! Of course the other songs are beautifully shot, including the September Maadham song which we have come to expect from Mani Ratnam – In one interview, he said that sometimes, he needs to put in certain songs for the front-benchers in the halls…

    Of course Pacchai Niramae is vintage Mani Ratnam – many other filmmakers have copied the colour schemes after this movie but not to the same effect… The shot of the blue water is probably one of Mani’s best frames ever…

    Another interesting facet of Mani Ratnams movies is the strong support his side characters lend to the story – Most other Indian movies are dominated by the main cast and the side characters usually spoil the movie with less than mediocre acting… Alai Payuthey exemplifies the side characters – Both the families, the friends etc giving great performances in Mani movies

    Agree with you that it was more Shalini’s dad who didn’t want the marriage to work out, in the clash of egos… Also think that the turning point where Shalini says she’s married is fine in the context of the movie… There is a prelude to this where she is shown forced into saying yes by her mother, so I guess she has no options…

    No mention of his movies can be complete without mention of the train – He loves to use the train in almost all his movies as one of the key tools to either bring characters together (Alai Payuthey, Guru) or introduce his characters (Dil Se, Dalapathi, Yuva)…

    I dont see too many Tamil movies too.. And the Tamil/Hindi movies that I do watch – I always compare them to Mani’s movies which is probably an unfair comparison as he is leagues ahead of his contemporaries!

    Reply
  4. Aparna

    Daneel,
    Youtube clippings are not available 🙁 That is why I am asking if anyone has it! The full song was shown on TV esp. Vijay TV everyday for nearly two months after the release of the movie! It never struck me at that time that I should record it & I never ever thought that this song will never be shown on TV again. 🙁 It features the still that I have put on the slideshow in which Shalini is wearing a green saree.

    >they have really helped me, in a lot of ways.
    :O They have help you?!

    Prabhu,
    Sure.
    Thank you! 🙂

    Sathej,
    Hmmm

    Reply
  5. Aparna

    Bharath,
    Thank you 🙂
    It will be sometime before I write about Nayagan. Why don’t you write about it before I write? 😉 Your views about the movies are too good!

    I am going to post the reply to your comment as another post!

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Mani Ratnam's movies « Aparna’s Blog

  7. sivaramang

    No need to say EXCELLENT again! Its default now for most of your posts. The series is very nice. You have a good flow of writing. and continue this not only for movies and for some good novels and dramas also (if u r intrested on those…).

    Reply
  8. Lakshme

    Hi Aparna,

    Could you please discuss on various aspects of Alaipayuthey vs Saathiya?
    Eagerly awaiting a positive response from you:)

    Thank You!
    Lakshme

    Reply
  9. Aparna

    Lakshme,
    Welcome to my blog! Saw your mail just now. As expected, I didn’t like Saathiya much. I watched it just once and don’t remember anything about it.

    Reply
  10. Henrik

    Dear Aparna, thanks for a very nice and entertaining re-living of “Alaipayuthey” here!

    I just wondered one thing: In the very last scene, when Shakti wakes up, Karthik says something in Tamil and she replies in English: “I love you.” He speaks more in Tamil and she replies in English: “I love you”, about four times.

    Why does she speak *English* here? They are both native Tamil speakers in this story.

    I notice in other Indian movies too the Hinglish or here “Taminglish” (?). But i find it most special in this crucial moment to speak English instead of Tamil. Would you use English in that situation or is there some kind of rule when English instead of the local language is to be expected in India between to speakers of the same native language?

    Would it be “too serious, too heavy” to say “I love you” in Tamil? Or the other way round, does it get more stress when spoken in English?

    I am German, saw “Alaipayuthey” in Tamil with English subtitles, and always wonder on the use of English within Hindi or Tamil movies and very specially in the above mentioned scene.

    If you do post an explanation, i’d be very thankful if you send me a reminder by e-mail too so that i remember to check back to this certain blog entry. Thanks a lot 🙂 !

    Reply
  11. Aparna

    Henrik,
    Welcome to my blog!

    I have no idea why, but almost all Indian filmmakers seem to be fascinated with the English words ‘I love you’ & most films have this dialogue in English. In the case of Alaipayuthey, Shakti says it in English since Karthik would have earlier said that in English. Also, if you remember, there is this scene where Karthik asks her to say ‘I love you’ & she refuses to.

    Reply
  12. Henrik

    Hi Aparna,

    thanks for explaining.

    >>>if you remember, there is this scene where Karthik asks her to say ‘I love you’ & she refuses to.

    Oh, how could i forget that important scene. So ‘I love you’ in the hospital makes a lot
    of sense and connects nicely with a much earlier part of the film and of their lives.

    Reply
  13. Pingback: Aparna’s Blog » Kadhal Sadugudu & Alaipayuthey

  14. prashanth12

    Let me add a very late comment on the use of the English “I love you”.

    I feel that the use of the sentence is meant to communicate directness.

    Tamilians are typically much more reserved about their emotions than Westerners. Westerners have this short and direct “I love you” phrase that they use. It is a very bold, direct phrase with no turning back.

    There are ways in Tamil of saying “I love you”, but they are not as direct. They are a little more formal, or a little more roundabout, or matter-of-fact. Their tone is more subdued than such a direct, heart-on-sleeves phrase like “I love you”.

    I think this is why, in this movie, Mani Ratnam chose the English “i love you” instead of saying it in Tamil. Also, Shakti and Karthik are young college students – and thus much more likely to use “hip” phrases like that.

    I think it’s fine in Alaipayuthey, but I really don’t like how it’s used in so many other youth films. It’s like we feel the need to imitate the relationships in Western movies almost exactly…

    Reply
  15. Karthikeya

    Hi Aparna,

    I watched Alai Payuthey for the first time last week, and I’m addicted. Did some Googling, and stumbled upon this series of blogposts. It’s great to find others who love this film. I really like your writing.

    About the music, it’s great how Mani Ratnam used songs as a part of the narrative, rather than as a distraction. Kadhal Sadgudu described their entire newlywed phase, and is such a fun watch that I can’t just listen to the song – it has to be with the visuals! Yaro Yarodi similarly helps build both characters.

    It’s a classic in many ways. Not MR’s best, perhaps, but my favourite.

    Cheers,
    Karthikeya

    Reply

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