While we gentrify Madras into Chennai, in many ways, the character of the city that once was, has least sold out lies in the Northern suburbs. For young directors seeking to stand out from an aspiring mob of fellow storytellers, North Madras is virgin territory. It helps if the writers appreciate that North Madras is beyond just Housing board colonies, history-sheeters and houses of disrepute; Kirumi does.
Director Anucharan claims, he was inspired to make Kirumi after he went around and observed people in Madras. We wish he takes many such rides ’cause he comes up with a stimulating cross-section of this society and its aspirations. Not that it has not been attempted before. Selvaraghavan (Pudupettai), Vetrimaran (Polladhavan) and Pa Ranjith (Madras) have handled this genre with tremendous respect and awareness.
Under Manikandan’s (Kaaka Muttai’s Director) writing, Kirumi goes further by digging deeper into the lives of these folks and the thoughts that keep them awake at night. The authenticity of the character motivations, credibility of the words uttered and the way the branches the plot reaches for, are terrific. Instead of getting too ambitious or obsessed with the canvas, Kirumi sticks to a simple episodic structure that lets each character speak to you, unrushed.
The intensity and the wallop that Anucharan brings to Kirumi is nothing short of contagious. What starts as a familiar routine of a dissatisfied, young person (Kathir) on the lookout for easy avenues, falling for the unsophisticated traps of gray shades between good and evil, makes way for a stairway down to a murky underside. Anucharan creates a horror-film level uneasy strain by pushing Kathir down those very steps we wish he doesn’t. No matter how street-smart Kathir is, we’re never sure if he’ll make it out in the end.