Navarasa, an anthology of 9 emotions, created by Mani Ratnam and Jayendra Panchapakesan has brought together 9 directors and a bunch of popular actors to convey 9 stories. The fourth episode is set in Kumbakonam 1965, in a typical agraharam set-up and is supposed to portray the Bibhatsa Rasa or the Emotion of Disgust. At the end of the episode, the characters convey the emotion and make us feel disgusted at the same time.
Delhi Ganesh has nailed his role as Subbu’s Chitthappa (uncle) by just spilling his jealousy over his nephew with every dialogue. Rohini plays Ganesh’s dead wife, whom he talks to imaginarily. He is jealous of his nephew because he managed to find his many daughters good grooms and also conduct every wedding with pomp and grandeur. Ganesh, who is the father of Bhagyam (Aditi Balan) rants about how he couldn’t find the best of grooms for his daughter but still managed to get her married. But unfortunately he also died because of Cholera, leaving her a widow.
Subbu’s Chitthappa spews his jealousy over Subbu to his wife
The whole 30 minutes revolves around the wedding house, Ganesh giving reasons for his jealousy and Aditi Balan going around helping the people in the house. As it is set in 1965 the episode indirectly focuses on Child marriage as well as the high mortality rate back then, although it does not really convey it through dialogues. When the episode starts, we think the disgust is going to come around how Aditi is treated as a widow. However, it comes from a very unexpected angle in the end.
The way a Brahmin wedding takes place and the way the cooks behave and joke around typically is portrayed really well in the episode. The importance of the Wedding Payasam in a Brahmin wedding is also narrated in detail so that we understand its significane at the end of the episode.
Aditi Balan’s one expression in the end of the episode gives the essence of the episode in entirety. That one look of Disgust on her face is enough for us to feel disgusted at that point. The importance of a wedding payasam and how the whole story revolves around that is also very witty. Although the screenplay was a little stretched out, it was required for such a story. Ganesh, Rohini and Aditi did a brilliant job portraying their respective characters. The Brahmin slang was also perfectly spoken by all the actors.
Bhagyam’s face as she realises what her father has done
Disgust is neither an easy emotion to portray, nor one to evoke in the audience. Disgust may be easy to evoke by showing something not appealing to the eye. But, it is not easy to convey by mere emotions and actions. Vasanth’s Payasam has done that job perfectly!
Check out the detailed Navarasa review here!