Death and resurrection in the greatest 15 minutes of Selvaraghavan

A recent Film Companion opinion piece that ranked 7G Rainbow Colony as the best Selvaraghavan film, got people pouring in with their own respective reordering of the auteur’s films. Some placed Pudupettai at the top, a few even suggested Aayirathil Oruvan, one or two even tentatively offered Mayakkam Enna… All this got me thinking of what I believe are the greatest 15 minutes of any film he has made so far. I’m referring to 7G Rainbow Colony’s end stretch, of course; a stretch, which, without warning, explodes with new-found, irrepressible pathos. In talking to us, Ilaiyaraaja recently attributed the longevity of any art to the presence of a seemingly obscure factor he referred to as “uyirottam”. Life and truth in their most unadulterated form sometimes pervade into art, and it can be said that the last 15 minutes of 7G Rainbow Colony is well and truly above the rest of the film for the gut-wrenching depths it introduces to us.

If you remember, it’s a film in which the woman, Anita, tolerates quite a bit. Kathir is ill-mannered and brutish, a quintessential Selvaraghavan central male character if you will. This one also ogles, misbehaves, abuses, stalks… He is pathetic. And she can’t seem to fend him off. Instead, like a germ, he ends up growing on her. He’s almost an infection, a flaw. He’s… human. She’s an epitome of patience, a giver. She’s… an angel, a goddess. He’s a sinner; she’s his saviour. He’s a mortal; she’s his immortal. He needs redemption; and she’s the redeemer, his — allow me to go with this — Christ. All of this subtext becomes more and more apparent in those last 15 minutes, an unflinching take on grief, loss, and love. Kathir falls into the abyss of loss and experiences the profundity of grief. He then transforms and experiences the apex of rapture. Sin, saviour, redemption, Christ, angel, immortal, rapture… There’s a lot of religious colour clearly. Allow me to delve into those 15 minutes, and you will see why.

Death

The harrowing fifteen minutes begins at around the 2 hours 45-minute mark in the film. It’s the morning after the first intimate night between Kathir and Anita. He thought their encounter was a final decisive admission of her intention to marry him. She feels she’s gifted him her body, a mortal offering to a man who’s generally been about the flesh. This sinning man with his quick temper, childish tantrums, unrestrained profanity, uncultured behaviour… And yet, he has persevered, like a sinning devotee to a deity. And almost like in mythology, she has rewarded him with a boon: Physical intimacy. “Nee sandhoshama irukkanumnu unakku enna kuduthen.” She then suggests she is moving on, perhaps even letting out that she’s ready to grant the next boon — marriage — but this time to her parents. This is perhaps her first death in Kathir’s eyes, and his reaction is as expected: “Nee illanaa, naan sethruven.” He makes this threat at least twice. But of course, for cinematic purposes, it isn’t enough for Anita to die a metaphorical death in his life; this almost heavenly being has suffered romance with a mortal, and is cursed to death, in a sense. She meets with an accident, as she stands eyes full of longing and regret and love, intending to return to Kathir. Tyres maim her, and one vehicle even runs over her face. This is what happens to angels on earth. Just before all this mayhem occurs, we get at least two clear shots of a statue behind them, which further substantiate how she’s his redeemer, a guardian angel. The statue is a version of Michelangelo’s Pieta — mother Mary holding her beloved son, Jesus, in her arms, after his crucifixion. The statue is a shadow of what is to come. Kathir is about to be destroyed, and Anita will have to protect him, resurrect him.

For the remainder of this column (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), please visit https://www.cinemaexpress.com/stories/columns/2019/jun/09/view-finder-selvaraghavan-greatest-15-minutes-7g-rainbow-colony-12149.html

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