usa special
hyd scene

Some Ramblings - The Businessman (2012
By Srinivas Kanchibhotla

Who is Tyler Durden - the question keeps popping throughout the length of the movie 'Fight Club'. And revealed at the end that he represents the repressed instincts of a tamed humanity lulled into perpetual sense of daze brought on by the full front assault of consumerist culture. Fittingly, the repression plays out first as the inexplicable urge and rage to engage in brutal hand to hand combat and ultimately culminates in scheming to blowing up the offices of credit rating agencies, which the movie argues, is the feeding trough of consumerism, where corporations and consumers come together in a drug dealer-addict sense. 'Fight Club' is an important critique on a lackadaisical generation that lay waste on a constant intravenous drip of instant gratification. It is a serious satire on the spendthrift culture that seems to have completely blunted the survival instincts that kept the humanity on its toes constantly propelling forward.

'Businessman' attempts at being that kind of social commentary on a society that has been brought to its knees at the hands of the anti-social elements. The continued assault on the social fabric by an unrelenting campaign of physical abuse and psychological terror had inured citizens into mutely accepting the status quo and remained completely resigned to their fates. At a concept level, Surya Bhai is a doppelganger of Tyler Durden, in that both these characters act out of the frustrations of a subjugated mind and rebels against a system that has developed a survival mechanism entirely on the mute acceptance of the ongoing proceedings. Working back, what perpetuates lawlessness is the inability of enforcement, what controls enforcement is the vice grip of administration, and what constitutes administration is men with resolve who risk everything and stop at nothing. Surya Bhai is a first of its kind on the telugu screen, who thinks that goodness is merely weakness against taking matters into one's own hands and moulding the world around him as he sees fit, and therefore in his view, the way to end brutality is by bringing on more of it (the way wildfires are contained by controlled fires). This is a society that has ingrained inaction in the name of tolerance and shaking it up back to consciousness is but through the use of seldgehammer and not soft sloganeering. Or to paraphrase Colonel Kurtz from 'Apocalypse Now', 'Give me a few soldiers who has the same resolve as to perpetrate unspeakable acts of terror on the enemy, as the enemy does upon you, and I'll end the bloody war now' (commenting on the failed American policy in Vietnam). On the other side of the spectrum, recalling Vivekananda's words, 'Brave, bold men and women, these are what we want. What we want is vigor in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas'. Observe how in both these extreme situations, a resolve that isn't mired in reason or deterred by remorse becomes the basis for change. And Surya Bhai chooses the first option, of brutality.

What makes this character standout from among the boilerplate reformist heroes is his unabashed and unapologetic mentality. He doesn't mind manipulating people, even treating his love interest like a worn door mat, freely abusing her with the choicest of colorful slurs. His single minded dedication and devotion to reach to the top could not afford affection. This is a characters that has a motive, a purpose, an aim and a goal, and his methods, raw, rough and brutal, right from the start all the way till the end (with no obligatory change of heart in the climax). This is probably one of best characters scripted purely from the psychological standpoint. There is another interesting point here that throws the audience off the scent, regarding the credibility of the narrator (Surya Bhai). If he is portrayed as a schemer, willing to change his stand to suit its purpose, could his words and arguments be taken at their face value? This is a tricky situation concerning telugu film hero character, whose words are usually lapped up as holy grail. But if the character avows that reaching his goal takes a precedence to being nice to the world around him, then why should his words be taken for anything other than manipulative, making his points merely arguments meant to prop his case. And the faulty logic in that hunter-prey example about a tiger and deer is just that - his take on the case, doesn't mean that it is the right one. This is a tough position for the audience to accept, who are brought up on the fact that hero's words are always immutable and the unvarnished truth. No Sir, not this time.

That said, Puri made a mess of such an interesting, strong and a unique character, with a modus-operandi that is laughable and downright pedestrian. If he had already decided that his anti-social character is going be heartless anyway, it makes no sense portraying him sentimental at convenient spots. Also, the way the character ascends the power ladder one rung at a time, first by liberating the masses from the clutches of predatory loan sharks, and then with their support entering the political space making all the right moves, though writes good on paper, flounders seriously in execution that smacks of laziness. For a story that had already gone out of its way being outrageous and antagonistic towards everything that a regular society stands for, the execution of such crucial scenes that make Surya Bhai rise to the top should have downright brutally realistic, instead of being flimsy and loose. It is quite frustrating to watch such an interesting character wallow in illogic and mediocrity only because the director didn't want to go the extra mile.

Purely on the grounds of being the first anti-social, unapologetic, driven lead character, 'Businessman' stands tall in a crowd of ideological dwarfs. Alas, if only the actions had matched the ambitions!

checkout for Srinivas's Blog

Tell Srinivas Kanchibhotla how you liked the article

More Ramblings on films
The Avengers
The Artist
Money Ball
Adventures of Tintin
Mission Impossible: Ghosty Porotocol
Sri Ramarajyam
The Ides of March
The Tree of Life
Super 8
Teen Maar
Inside Job
127 hours
The king's speech
The social network
Peepli [live]
Kick Ass
Ye Maya Chesave
Maya Bazaar
3 Idiots
Inglorious Basterds
District 9
The Hurt Locker
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire
Quantom of Solace
The Dark Knight
Wall - E
The incredible Hulk
Indiana Jones and the kingdom of crystal skull
Speed Racer
Iron Man
Jodha Akbar
There will be blood
Chrlie Wilson's War
No Country for Old Men
Om Shanti Om
Lions for Lambs
American Gangster
Michael Clayton
Happy Days
Chak De India!
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Simpsons Movie
The Grindhouse
Casino Royale
The Departed
Lage Raho Munnabhai
Superman Returns
The Da Vinci Code
Sri Ramadasu
Rang De Basanti (Hindi)
Jai Chiranjeeva!
Munich (English)
Sarkar (Hindi)
Mangal Padey (Hindi)
Kaadhal (Tamil)
Anukokunda Oka Roju
Batman Begins (English)
Radha Gopalam
Mughal E Azam
Virumandi (Tamil)
Lakshya (Hindi)
Yuva (Hindi)
Kakha Kakha (Tamil)
Mr & Mrs Iyer
Nuvve Nuvve


This article is written by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
emailabout usprivacy policycopy rightsidle stuff