The Palace Of Illusions

I am sure the title would have conveyed the historical/mythological/epic background of this blog post. Yes, you guessed it right. This one’s a small thread out of the intricately woven epic Mahabharatha. For relevance, please read the review by Swami Nathan and then proceed to the discussion –

Gogal – It’s a good book! 🙂

Swami – (That’s alright) Ellam OK.. But are you convinced with the way the relationship between Kunti & Draupathi is portrayed?
Gogal –  I read it long time back Anna. So don’t remember that. What is etched in my mind is karna draupadi encounters, in their mind and in real. With kunti, ts more like friction right?
Swami – It was more of a cold relationship between the daughter in law and the mother in law – author’s way of portrayal.. Karna and Draupathi’s is nice, but she carrying the softness even after the disrobing event does not convey that She is a strong woman.. A few lines after the Nala Damayatnthi story is just ultimate – on why the virtuous always suffers and how life needs to be faced by them
Gogal – Basically the perception will be like she had friction with just women in her life, but she would more freely connect to all kinds of men – good, bad and the wicked … In the sense, she will quickly be able to reason out men’s actions. Like her dad, brother, husband. Also indirectly points her lovely motherless childhood that turned her into a gritty and solid woman, more like expectations cannot bury me kinds. The disrobe scene is a metaphor again, that shows her sage like mindset. Don’t you think so? Let me know what you think of it.
Lonely and motherless childhood*
And you just nailed it. Krishna tries to display the fact that the virtuous suffer the most. So she starts to smile instead, on the inside. It’s not exactly softness, rather metaphorical. Reminds me of “the difficulty of being good” by gurcharan das which is on the same lines about how noble people suffer.
Swami – Gogal, she had very few women in her life.. She was close with Dhri ma, and not a good rapport with Kunti.. Did she really have a good connect with men. She herself openly admits she did not love any of her husbands as they longed to be..I agree with you on the disrobing event.. Very well written with no melodrama and brings out the actual essence of the event..and finally she herself admits that she had not been a good mother and the fire of revenge engulfed many sweet moments of her life.. only to finally see loosing everyone..But is that not life..NOTHING LASTS..
Gogal – In terms of connecting with Krishna, her brother. I think that line was better than her relation with anyone else. Dhri ma an exception though .. And she could not get herself to be friendly or very giving to anyone. If there was one person that she was being herself to, then it is Krishna. I think she is called krshna right?
 In an essence, the palace of illusions as the title aptly captures it, is a gloomy tale of a princess, who finds it very difficult to come to terms with life … But survives, and remains the show stopper of the epic …. The thread is very interestingly spawn in the sense, is it her temperament that brings more gloom to her life or is it the other way? But whatever had been different, who can change destiny, who can question the dynamic unfolding of life’s events?!!!
Swami – Gogal, Wow.. you choice of words promises an author in future…and great outlook too..way to go..and waiting to see..
Gogal – 🙂 keep sharing your reads anna, good books can bring the best out of anyone 🙂


Impressive. Sorry, Iraivi is the title of the movie. It was more a feeling rather impact that kept dwelling in me, for at least a week after I saw the movie. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to watch it one more time. I was done with this one – but the impact it left in me, is inexplicable. Or, is it? As I scrolled down the pages of my Facebook news feed glumly, I read this review that just resonated with the shades of crimson red and fire yellow, that Iraivi had left in me. I could not resist, and gave in to the discussion, that turned out to be a wonderful collaborative analysis about the celluloid drama.

~ Original review  by Swami Nathan. The dialogue/discussion that follows was originally Facebook comments that has been moved to this blog for convenient reading. Swami Nathan is my good friend of mine, has an impeccable insight, voracious reader, and an intellectual conversation initiator. Dons as a thought provoking and responsible member of social media sites such as Facebook, Goodreads, etc..,

Swami – 


As touted by media, Iraivi is definitely not a film which celebrates womanhood. It has more than that and as a matter of fact it implicitly brings out why woman find their own cages. What is surprising about the film is that it is made by a three film old director, who is in his early thirties, who has never been an assistant director, yet had observed life and people is such close quarters. The films pace is something very unique and is a thing which Tamil audience are not used to – After all we made Chinna Thambi, a box office hit a few decades ago. Finally I’m not giving a verdict on how good or entertaining the movie is. But just wanted to share some observations.

Have never come across a Tamil film in recent times, where metaphors are used so beautifully and extensively [at times suffocating too]. Be it first scene where Illayaraja’s Thendral vanthu Theendum bodhu song soothes in background, while Arul [ SJ Surya] is intoxicated with his Takila [ as a mark that both are intoxicants] or the heist being planned on lady deities, as they have more market value or the background song “Unnai Thaane” during the bedroom scene or two cups shown in rain, one closed and one open collecting the rain drops in the scene between Yazhini [ Kamalinee Mukherjee] and her friend.We have Doss,[ Radharavi] , who is a sculptor, whose work is planned for a heist by his sons after years, and in parallel, we are shown his wife, whose value he realizes only after she moves to comatose in her last years, just like his sculptures.

The director beautifully brings out the nuances of four kinds of ladies. The old generation Arul’s mother [Vadivukkarasi], who prefers to wipe her tears in silk saree, all bejeweled, complaining about her husband, still remembers to pick his spectacles in first scene – Here she is more concerned on what her relations would think about her ill treatment rather than what it means to her or how it hurts herThe modern Yazhini is no different. She chooses her life partner, silently bears the pain and oscillates between what she has and what she wants till the end. She is all bejeweled in last scene, still not wanting to drench herself in rain. Are they not the choices of these ladies? Yazhini still needs the support of her father, when it comes to her personal failure. She is shown as a corporate woman stuck in routine and giving to the demands of societal pressures. She is shown as a working woman, who decides to remarry, goes to pub. But is she strong?

On the other hand, take a look at Malar [ Pooja], a widow – shown as an artist [ kudos to the way director chooses the background of the characters], who needs Michale [ Vijay Sethupathi] only for sexual needs. She comes across as a blunt and practical woman, whom we would want to call as whore. But, she is THE lady who understands another woman – the scene where she silently looks at Micheal leaving her house on a rainy day from her window and the lie which she utters, to make him leave. In the temple song, amongst all three, she is the one who is clad in white, while all others hallucinates Michale in black attire – it is Ponni who stabs him with her trident.We have a girl who can reject a diamond necklace and confidently say she has the power to earn what she wants. She too had personal debacles, but confidently speaks that she has recovered from that phase of life – A practical, but rebellious character.

Ponni [ Anjali, one actor of recent times, who has immense screen presence] is the actual Iraivi. She is the usual lower middle class girl dreaming for Thala and Thalapathi as her partner, but quickly accepts Michale. Unlike Yazhini, she is not educated, liberated, no strong parental support and does not choose her partner, yet she had the guts to leave her husband and take care of her kid, not once, but twice. The question of Michael to her on Jegan, which she refuses to answer till end shows her tenacity. She is a lady who has nothing to loose. No societal pressure. She is not confused as Yazhini. She accepts boldly that she did fall in love with Jegan [ Bobby Simha] and within few minutes could shower love and hug Michale, constantly wanting to rebuild her life from the shackles, to the best possible.There are only fine lines which makes difference between Ponni and Malar.Both are fighters, independent strong, but still the lines makes a difference.

The film just not touches on feminism. It talks about childhood trauma – Jegan, who has seen woman helpless all through his life, goes to any extent to ensure the welfare of Ponni. Like all protected second child in a family, which is controlled by the father [ Radha Ravi], where woman are treated badly, there is no reason for the behavioral mysteries of Jegan. He is in the beginning stages of a “Guna”.The film touches on slavery, which is intricately woven in our society. Michale and his uncle John [ Seenu, in a much needed lime light for him] are shown as unquestionable loyalists for generations to the family of Arul, who are eventually exploited [ There is also a reason behind the religion of John & Michale, which is subtly told]. The last scene where Arul tells Michale – Nee Enaku Thambi maathiri da, Jegan en Thambi. Wow!!!

Look at the way Men are shown – The scene how Michale kisses Ponni in the first night and how different it is when he kisses her when she tells him that she is pregnant with his child, the scene where he hastily leaves the train to get toffee for his kid who calls him as Appa [all along being called as Uncle]. The possessiveness and the inquisitiveness in the veins of male are shown when he eagerly questions the chastity of Ponni [We all do want Ponni to respond that she had not slept with Jegan – After all we are all Men]. The importance what he shows to Ponni, only after they get a child and after Malar rejects him. That is Indian Men for all of you, who stayed in the womb of a woman for 10 months.

There is one scene which sums up the story– When all Men plan for the heist in the hospital, Arul’s mother is shown lying in the center in comatose. That is how Men treat and want woman in their life. But it is left to woman to choose whom they want to be – Ponni / Malar / Yazhini. And why for woman. It is applicable for men too.

Gogal – Don’t you think there’s some courage and a lot of thought process involved in choosing girl kids for both the characters Swami Nathan? The unfolding of the subtle psychopath in Michael, all of the wrongly channelized brought up in jegan, that half baked good for nothing hot bloodedness in arul, that ego not letting himself admit his defeat in front of his emotionally losing sons, despite a comatosed wife, the extremely humble and honest destroyer – the chithappa … weakness despite strength, strength despite the weaknesses. That insight to portray that gender is so much more than just sports and gossip! This director seems to let the characters write themselves, so much closer to life explained in the Vedas. The director seems to observe life passionately. Hats off.

Swami – Gogal, And the director is only 3 films old. That is what fascinates me. But why do you call the chitappa as honest destroyer? Amazed at the way that character asked Ponni to leave the place in climax

Gogal – I guess if you are a keen observer in life, experience can be matched. Also makes me wonder if assistant directorship is a lot about observance really, maybe?! Chithappa – I think ignorant is a better word … I was so hoping he would do the earnest elder of the house … taking blame and letting the young one thrive but that was a brilliant touch .. another place where the character wrote itself .. He is a man … of simplicity … he will never compromise on that. Asking ponni to leave .. is a brilliantly conceived scene .. not to blame men really … but every man in the movie (when they were good and bad) always had at least one bad point against the othen men in their lives .. .Jegan about his dad and Arul and Michael … Michael about Jegan and the producer (and Arul at the fag end … nee en thambi maadhri) … Arul about Michael … Not sure if the director tries to underline that trait where men come up with – you could have done that .. he could have done that … well ask yourself too? Only Arul does that! But why just Arul? Because there is a creator in him, who observes a lot! A bit of Karthik himself .. genius touch!

Swami – You wont belive, I had the same thought that Chitappa would take the blame and Michael would go scott free.. You are amazing on the observation about Men

Gogal – Not intending to beat on it .. but both of us missed something .. that stunning insight you gave on hospital heist plot plan scene – why was the interruption a female nurse? 🙂 Is there any difference between her and the comatose patient apart from the vegetable state? Neither of them are able to do anything about those men .. Well these men could not deal with their own angry self (their anger and their angry self is a vicious circle) … but still .. I hope you get my point. I did not think about this scene until I remembered that the director gives few secs of extra screen space to the nurse as she walks out from the dark room towards the lighted corridor after being shouted at by all the men .. ranting about this unruly behavior in a place that screams for silence .. and remember that was the time Radharavi broke his silence … Aaan .. nedil … Penn .. kuril … 🙂 Let me know what you think anna …

Swami – Abi… Wow..

என்றென்றும் கே.பி!

எண்ணங்களுக்கு வடிவம் கொடுத்தாய்
உணர்ச்சிகளுக்கு வழி வகுத்தாய்
உணவுக்குப் பாத்திரமெனில்
உணர்வுக்குக் கதாபாத்திரமென்றாய்
பார் அதை – என்று (உனக்கு)
பார்த்தெல்லாம் பாரதியாக
மதி உள்வைத்தது உலகை மதி
அதுவே மனித குலத்தின் கதி
உன் மதி மிகைக்குமோ மீண்டும் ஒர் நதி
நீயும் உருவம் எறிந்தாய்,
மனதே அதைப் பதி
மனதே அதைப் பதி!
மனதே அதைப் பதி!
நீயல்லாது யார் வீ.ஐ.பி?!
மறுமுறை உணர்கிறேன் உன்னை, கே.பி!