@equanimus First of all,Thanks for the refining insight. I must assert here now itself, that my fanboyism for Bala is not a hangover of his creations. It has grown without myself knowing it. Also, Bala is daring and thus a provocateur and not vice versa , you know NOT like a Gaspar Noe where his trangression started from his love-hate relationship with French street movement (also social resent), Bala hasn’t travelled extensively in those regions.
OK, As always it is fascinating to discuss Bala films, I respond in humility wrt to his work. You must have noticed that I had included the word Parpaniyam as only a subtle rebellion. In fact even though Bala affirms his friendship with Jeyamohan in that second interview, for the sharp question as to why the beggars in Naan Kadavul were shown to be sporting the Indian flag, he casually replies, “It was to show that, you know that these people are also from India( a need to be shown as a part of a country)”. It is here clear in fact that he is far away from any Tamil diaspora seditionist views or segmentation for autonomy. Also about what you said about Dravidian ideology, a little personal thought, here(What follows are my personal views, may not be enitirely acceptable). Earlier I did a similar tease with respect to a small segment in Enthiran, but later about that. Let me take a bite. With the acceleration of globalisation, film has again become one of the most active mediums to get influenced and to influence (am talking about the commerce that “sells” nowadays).In that perspestive, what Bala has to offer, probably has more girth if not technical grandeur and more importantly with respect to the discussion, a definite purpose. With this in mind, Bala’s films uncannily trace the stories if people who are in the “upliftment” process.Though Bala considers them as equals demolishing politely (“soft dismissal” if you may)anything and everything that brings a difference in societal recognition and placement. One of those, especially prevelant in his tsubversive habits is RELIGION.
He decides to call it off one day, by stating Naan Kadavul. He sees God in everyone.
“And nAn kadavuL topped it all and was clearly identified as a film with Hindutva leanings. Some people then attributed this to Jeyamohan, who’s well known for his Hindu/India sympathies, wrongly so in my reading. The overarching mystique angle, the visceral good vs. evil narrative and the mythical godlike hero are all patently Bala’s signature. Jeyamohan is far too rigourous for this sort of stuff.”
As I understood what you were trying to convey in this, it’s hard not to go more into the fascinating dialogue that Naan Kadavul puts.
It’s “not only” a brash take on theology. Debased with a pot smoking guy who apparently knows it all, by falling into the habits of a rare occult. Atheism, as you know has been closely knitted with the Dravidian movement. It was(is?!) it’s core socio-emotional arm.It forms the basic structural platform against MertharathuMakkal. But Bala is simple and single layered in his allegory.
He, most progressively put is in an emotional voyage atleast WRT to his film works. Naan Kadavul’s dialogue is a constant and a simple one. There were confused responses as to what Arya with held in the film, especially among Tamil reviewers (am taking simple examples here). From what I see, Rudran on the surface level is a ruthless pot smoking ruggard in the symbols of a rare occult that Bala got fascinated with during his visit.—I came across an interesting tidbit about Bala from a friend a couple of days back(probably you’d know this already but still am typing). Bala during his “lost” days (after Pithamagan shooting)was seen to be kicking around and playing with Manda Odus (human skulls) in cemetries. A vettiyan was watching this. After some time, when Bala’s father had passed away and after the burnt body bones had to be treated with a certain orthodox procedure (he was asked to take the bones in the left hand) and Bala refused, “This is my Dad why should I use my left hand?”, That’s when the vettiyan had questioned his skull kicking. And that apprently hit Bala a lot.
Coming back, Rudran was an extrapolation of Chiththan in Pithamagan; an angry dialogue. As far it goes, Bala weighs the importance of what Rudran says in the holy script and what Chiththan mumbles at the graveyard in the same way. If some saw what Rudran had to say with his Aham Brahmasmi (I also saw someone getting all spiritual and shit during a certain padathodakka vizha talking about the “vibrations” of that word). Bala was in a phantasmagoric search for a higher meaning, more than patronizing, I repeat “DOES NOT patronize”. It would remain the same old gibberish to him. He was interested more about the “Irakkamilla Kangal” of Arya and how to exploit it in the grand stage that can be ruthlessly and almost liberatingly set by an Aghori, bad mouthing away into glory. The story was hardly about this character. It was Bala there, again testimony to the fact that all his characters are him , in some/a major way.
His God is about the unfairness of life and the struggle to find fairness/self-respect among people(Beggars are people, was the statement). In fact there were some immediate thoughts in me after I wacthed the film, sort of philosophical-epiphany if you may that “the poorest man in the most senstive man and thus the most emotionally receptive” feeling the rythm and pulse of daily life that he is almost able to see God within himself. Now Arya is just the pissed Off Bala is just directing us to see these people. There is an odd scene where Rudran sits on a rock and near a temple, almost like some unwarrant entry of an unwanted person near a place where there is much need.
We also see a blind Pooja dragging herslef to Aarya for help and a dumbstruck Laila in the rain running to Chiththan after she sees Shakthi getting help. Both need help. In some form/way. Bala I think, chooses to meditate at this point. His vision of God is someone who makes his entry here. Here , at this point. Pooja is crying, like a Sita (some Hindus would say) and here, where is Krishna? But in real nothing happens. This is not good Vs Evil. It is Humans Vs God. Humans are God. And if at this critical juncture if the observant critic chooses to place Rudran as God, (am stifling a laugh here), you know where I am going with this.
A new Human Design, if you may, that Bala has tried in all his happiness with his characters prior to this “incident”. In fact, given to the repeatedness of this in his films, Bala is “Yearning” in all forms. It’s(has been)part of his life. He wants to say, It’s part of everyone’s.
Regarding his earlier films, I must say, it was too early to look too much into his subversive habits and stereotypes, but any insight is a welcome as such. But recognising his stereotypes is important, I think. I mean whether or not his films fuel Dravidian support is one thing, but there is a “soft dismissal” regarding his reactions towards paarpaniyam. Also, whatisthere if I choose to look into more? If one does it with Carnatic music , sipping filter kaapi, why not into this? Even so , I am more ready to believe that Bala is in a cloak of pan-Indian manouvre to make people indulge in such speculatory teases (choose what to believe right? Freedom of belief right?). I atleast think so. Please don’t take this as a defense. I guess , if you think my response has been a little opinionated, then I wish to contribute this to a result of a very moronic/opinionated critic given by J_A_F_B(with all due respect) in BR’s comments section (Avan Ivan).