- Karthik Narasimhan
It had rained all week in Salem – an incessant drizzle that looked like it would let-up in a few minutes, but had gone on for days. It was still raining when we took a bus that weekend to town to catch the new Illayaraja movie.
As we started walking towards the theater, we noticed a crowd of very wet people walking towards us. The relationship between the wetness of their clothes and the magnitude of the rain was puzzling (I thought it was exponential, Manoj thought it was strange), more so when you consider that the wetness was unevenly distributed across the length of their bodies. We walked over to someone, and politely enquired, “Umm.. how come you wet your pants?”
The guy didn't get the joke – he told us earnestly that a storm sewer had broken, and that there was knee-deep water on the roads leading to where we were going.
Without hesitation, we took our shoes off, folded up our jeans and started walking. (towards, of course). In a couple of minutes, we were wading through murky water (“It doesn't look like a storm water sewer, man”), that got higher and higher. People kept squealing, as unknown objects whose specific gravity was just right floated below the surface of the water and kept striking them at inconvenient places.
By the time we reached the theater, shoes in one hand, wallet in the other, our shirts were wet, and it was not from the rain. Around the same time, realization dawned on us: the guy that didn't get the joke meant ass when he said knee.
I headed straight to the bathroom, which was filled with a few hundred people in various states of undress, pouring water over themselves from a communal bucket. It was quite entertaining, and I would have stayed there for some more time if not for the clanging of the bell that announced the start of the movie.
The movie was horrible; and the audience filled with squirming wet bodies (heh!) hated it. It was the same old overweight-hero-rescues-a-callgirl-who-is-still-a-virgin plot with a twist: the girl was overweight too. I thanked the storm sewer guys for the distraction of wondering if the water would do bad things to me as I squirmed – it saved me from losing my mind completely. In case you want to know, the movie was called Kolangal. All said and done, Kolangal was the worst movie I've watched in my life.
Last week, I had been to a movie called Oru Naal Oru Kanavu (A Dream A Day). In hindsight, the parallels were obvious – rainy day, directed by an acclaimed movie maker from Kerala, music by Illayaraja. After the movie, I couldn't help telling myself, ” You know what, Kolangal wasn't all that bad.”