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Sillu Karupatti & Love for technology


Sillu Karuppati (SK) snuck into cinemas at the end of 2019 without making much noise. It was critically acclaimed and bombarded with good reviews. Curious, I checked out the crew and noticed that the director was Halitha Shameem. I remembered not liking her earlier work: her debut movie Poovarasam Peepee. With that first impression, I had decided to not watch SK but changed my mind after watching the one-minute sneak peek on Youtube. I’m not usually a fan of write-ups, blogs, or appreciation posts for movies, and yet I decided to write about the movie for the following reasons:

Is this a love story?

Whether the story of the movie is about the Sri Lankan civil war, Bombay riots, terrorism in the North-East, or Pakistan, Mani Rathnam would package it with beautiful love stories that sells. Such packages have been used in Sillu Karupatti, but instead of using love stories to package a national issue, Halitha Shameem has packed these love stories around technology. While other movies today mock technology (“Google maps la vazhi paakatha auto kaaranga tha correct-a solluvanga”, “Cell-phone vandha apram kita irundhey dhooram aayitom”), this movie manages to counter that idea and balances the notoriety associated with technology, perfectly.

The blogs, write-ups, and appreciation posts for Sillu Karupatti have come up with phrases like “Life is like a box of chocolates”, “sweet Anthology”, “delightful bag of surprises” but I never came across anything that spoke about its stand on technology, Not even a pun saying Silicon karupatti! Intense Google searches, including the explicit phrase “Sillu Karuppati technology” hasn’t yielded different results. This either means that nobody has spoken about the connection between Sillu Karupatti and technology, or, that I’m connecting the two things that I’m interested in: cinema and technology. Or maybe I’m a bad Googler who’s overthinking the connection between a set of simple love stories.

Unwrapping Sillu Karupatti

If you haven't watched the movie already, please be warned that from here on, this post contains spoilers. As of today, Sillu Karupatti is available on Netflix. If not you can check its availability in other streaming services.

1. Pink Bag

Manja tries to contact Mitty directly but is unable to do so. His saviour comes in the form of a broken-yet-functioning sound recording device, a tape recorder. He uses this technology to convey his thoughts without his physical presence.

Guy returning taperecorder

2. Kaaka Kadi

Unlike the other 3 stories, has an advantage with the age group of the protagonists who are effective tech users. They meet in person thanks to a shared cab service that is used via an app.

They bond over how memes are a kind of modern art form, how she restricts her information flow from the outside world, and eventually his health issues

We could even stretch the love for technology, by talking about how the life of the boy is saved thanks to technological advancements in the medical field.

Manikandan on Cab pooling
Cancer struck Manikandan

3. Turtles

is the story of two old people who have nothing much to do with tech. Yashodha, the old lady who stays alone in her home, trips, and falls. She manages to get medical aid, thanks to her telephone

Leela Samson fell on the floor

The old man searches her on the beach, and then turns to the internet, finally finding her through the turtle walk community.

Old Man using Apple Mac
A screen that has google opened

4. In Hey Ammu

Amudhini is lonely and feels that she and her husband aren't communicating properly. This is where Alexa's Natural Language Processing skills helps them to understand each other's thoughts and bridges the gap (which technically, a security flaw).

Sunaina aka Ammu talking to Alexa

In the climax, Amudhini talks about miracles

Ammu to Alexa: Remember the day I asked you about miracles
Ammu to Alexa: You are the one! You are the miracle

This is a fitting end, not just to this story, but to the whole anthology, which might have been a reason to keep Hey Ammu at the end.

There is a well-known scene in a Bhagyaraj movie where he says that we blame the thorn for pricking us, instead of accepting that we stepped on it. It'd be nice if the society and content creators understood this analogy, especially when it comes to how technology is represented. It's very frustrating to see content mocking technology which, ironically, has reached everyone solely because of similar technology. The technology of today is an open, powerful tool, and how it is used depends on the user, and not on the tool itselfJust like that, how technology is used in stories, depends not on the technology itself, but with the writer and the directors. Consider, for example, the movie, Poovarasam Peepee, which talks about how a radio transmitter device is used by some kids to expose crime in their locality while keeping themselves anonymous.

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