In the Bala [extreme right] school of filmmaking, there is a difference in class. Some learn their basics, some raise their standards.
Every Bala film is unique in its own way. Naan Kadavul is no different. Asking existential questions about faith and God in Naan Kadavul, Bala goes deeper, showcasing the lives of beggars and their existence. Abusing God, faith, swamis and disciples, Bala cocks a snook at the star system prevalent in Tamil cinema through some dark humour.
The avant garde journey began with Sethu in 1999. What can be called as a Tiger Woodsian debut, Bala initiated a new wave in Tamil cinema. Two years later came Nanda, another tale wrapped in angst. If Vikram was reborn in Sethu, then Suriya exploded into the Tamil arena in Nanda.
Then came Bala's directorial tour de force Pithamagan. Rarely has a film established a director as prominently in the minds and hearts of film-viewers as Pithamagan did. It was ensemble cast -- starring Vikram and Surya -- with Bala leaving his indelible mark on every shot.
Describing him as the only auteur in Tamil film, director and cinematographer Rajiv Menon once said, "Bala is the true original voice. He takes the dark side of human beings and travels them deeply into emotionally, if not analytically. He is a master at recording the descent and decline of human spirit. Bala is rewriting the Tamil Hero."
Text: Rajaneesh Vilakudy