Angadi Theru

T.Nagar is synonymous with mind numbing traffic/crowd, sweat, shops, pollution, commotion. One factor viciously paving way to the other. This Tamil flick Angadi Theru, (Market Place) is based on the lives of the young & vulnerable salespersons slogging at the multi-storey one stop shops in Ranganathan street.

The hero of the movie (remarkable performance for a debutant), forced to shoulder responsibilities after his father's sudden demise, discontinues his education and joins as a salesperson in such a shop. He is accompanied by his friend. [With the dhoti-clad, Lord Murugan worshiping owner of the shop being addressed as annachi, all sales people speaking Nellai Tamil and actress Sneha modelling for the adverts, it wouldn't take long for anyone to guess which shop is focussed here actually.]

The hero and his friend are thrilled to work in the air conditioned premises of the showroom after a brief stint of godown work. Their child like enthusiasm is checked by their greedy supervisor, who sqeezes every bit of energy from all the boys in the form of work, not to mention making passes with the girls in the name of punishment. With young boys and girls around, would Cupid's strike be far off? Another check in the form of seperating the boys from girls, by making them work in different floors. However the hero who by now is in love with the vivacious heroine (co-worker), decides to walk off from the job and decide to work along with the street vendors. How they pull off, and what kind of fate is instored for them forms the remaining part of the story.

There are 2 sub plots in the movie. One is how a jobless youth, cleans up the public toilet, collects money from every user (although that may not be legally right, he atleast makes it usable) and makes a living. The other is a lame person marrying a prostitute and sheltering her from trouble makers. Though a bit deviating (with the heroine's sister story etc) and a bit more gloomy than necessary, the movie spells optimism.

The movie is surely not one of those family entertainers. But its a revelation. Something on the lines of the inside story of all those big shots, who get away with everything, even after a film is made of it and all the stark realities beneath the flowery exterior are exposed. If not anything, one could learn what NOT to ask in an "annachi" shop. That you could get from pencil to pattu podavai far more cheaper than rest of India, is in itself an indication of how poorly the staff are paid. I really hope some social organisation (not the ones who cry foul at the venue of a fashion show) steps in and does the needful. As for the common public, I SO wish everyone could boycott the shop atleast as much as possible.

The hungry, tired and sullen faces of the sales staff, the strict vigilance of the supervisors in the real shop )on which this film is based) makes one believe their trials shown in the movie are not exaggerated.

Couldn't stop adding : when a Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaya manages to make this much noise, why doesn't a movie showcasing the hardship of a meagre wage earner make a similar mark? Also, I have a problem with the phrase "movies for masses/classes". Though not an assiduous movie-goer, I do understand what that means. But, I think the phrase is a kind of double entendre too. Cool movies appeal to the creamier part, while "uncool" hard to believe yet true movies fail to register the required accolades.