Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sigappu Rojakkal

Sigappu Rojakkal (Red Roses)
Starring: Kamalhassan, Sridevi, Goundamani, Bhagyaraj
Story, Screenplay, Direction: Bharathiraja
Music: Illaiayaraja

WARNING - SPOILERS GALORE!

The movie starts off with a shot of a big house...then a shot of a couple of yellow roses, with a lady pleading in the background - "Leave me! Leave me!". Then a high pitched scream, and a stream of blood falling on the roses - and then the title - Sigappu Rojakkal (Red Roses)

Kamal (Dilip) drives through the city in his car, interspersed with shots of discotheques and someone planting a rose plant in what is presumably a garden. Kamal enters the bar and the first shot is repeated again. Cut to the next day - a gurkha opens the gate of the house and a gardener adjusts a freshly planted rose plant and watering it. A rat suddenly runs past and the gardener chases it and kills it brutally. He buries the dead body and plants a rose plant on top of it, linking it to the earlier shot - presumably another dead body. The gardener then takes a cup of tea to the outhouse. The servant wakes up his boss with his bed tea, shooing the (pet) black cat which has settled down on the bed. The servant boy eyes the bra lying on the bed next to the master and then looks at the second cup of tea he has in his hand. The master sends him off sayin the other cup of tea is not reqd. The systematic nature of the boss is reflected in the way his clothes are arranged - he has 7 cupboards, each labelled with a day of the week.

Kamal's house is majorly set in red, even the food trays. He chats with the young boy and dismisses him saying he should not be wasting his youth like this and should get an education. Kamal agrees to sponsor the education. he starts off to the jail and the gardener rushes to get him a red rose for his jacket. He presents a dress and two (red) apples to the prisoners. He is introduced to some of the prisoners by the jailor, one of them being a guy who kills his wife but now repents for it. Kamal pauses and some screams run in the background, presumably from a disturbing flashback. He chats with the jailor and says that his annual visits to the jail is because of his Dad who was wrongly jailed for 7 years for a mistake he had not committed and was mentally affected by that bcoz of which he still stays like a prisoner in the outhouse. [Please note the fact that kamal says 'jailed for a crime his Dad had not committed'. We get to know of this crime later :)]

Kamal enters his office and wishes all his staff Good Morning. There are 4-5 ladies lined up for a Steno interview. Kamal's eyes fall specifically on a modernly dressed candidate - Chitra. He gets into his room (which has a couple of female posters/statues) and opens a cigarette case which plays a fast version of the Godfather theme(!) when opened. The length of the interviews is shown by his cigarette stubs. The first ciggie is completed in the first interview and just half of it in the second. Chitra is called third and she projects herself to be very arrogant. Plenty of double entendres happen in the interview and she is finally appointed. There is also a brief flashback of 3 stills which occur in the course of the interview indicating she is probably the next victim.

Sridevi [:)] makes her entry as an employee in a textile shop. Kamal, on first sight gets into the flashback- still mode again - one more victim identified! The first shot in the shop is awesome with some very good mirror-camera effects. Beatifully done! Kamal looks for Sridevi and goes to her counter to get hankies, which is what she handles. He selects one finally - a pink one with the pic of a black kitten on it! First round of flirting happens. He goes back to the shop the next day to 'get hankies' again. He finds an orange hanky with a red rose pic on it hanging from her waist and asks for it. More flirting happens. One more camera reflection shot.

He gets back to office and finds out Chitra has not been in for 2 days.The next day he is back in the shop, manages to make Sridevi come and talk with him and ends up gifting the orange-hanky-with-the-rose-pic to Sridevi. Meanwhile Chitra's bro calls up the office enquiring about her and informs the manager that Chitra has not come home for a week. Sridevi's friend in the shop, Sheela, ends up meeting Kamal at a beach by some confusion. We are shown Kamals car driving away and a dialogue "Ayyayyo, innikku ice-cream close!". The next day, Kamal gets a rose from his gardener as he leaves (indicaiton of another victim). Sheela goes missing and we see Kamal in a red hazy light thinking about how he screws Sheela and stabs her to death.
Kamal goes to the shop and follows Sridevi as she leaves, meets her and drops her home. He confesses his love for her on the way. Then a duet and they are soon deeply in love with each other. Kamals chitchat with Sridevi borders mostly on sex. A mini chat (no dialogues, only music) in a red-lighted room between Kamal, the gardener and a 3rd man (presumably the Dad) happens and the Dad disapproves of something while Kamal ultimately takes the upper hand. Kamal and Sridevi get married at the registrar office and they are off to a temple on Sridevi's request. Kamal views his regular atheist views a bit :)
One nice dialogue happens when Sridevi wants to buy an idol:
"Intha saamikku enna pa vilai?"
"Pathinettu roppanga"
"Aen sarada, ithu romba cheap irukke. Vere ethavathu costly saami-a vanga koodathu?"
He treats God no more than a commodity :)

He intros her to the 3 ppl in the house - gurkha, gardener and servant. Of course, her marriage sari is red.
She brushes against a toy mongoose and screams.
"Bhayantuttaya?"
"Ithukku uyir irukka?"
"Paaren uyiri irukkannu!...Uyirille..Indha maari intha veetla nariya irukkum, paathu bhayanthudathey!"
Strong!

He shows her sound the house. The library is filled with books on sex. He shows her a game room where there are games of chess, carroms, table tennis, etc where there is only one chair for each and the table tennis table has a mirror on the other side.
"Yaar kooda vilaiyaduveenga?"
"Enkooda thaan!"
"Thaniayava?"
"Ya. Vaazhkai poora naan jayikkanam engarthukaaka thaan ellathileyum thaniya vilayadittirukken.
Enakku pidikkatha onnu vazhkaila tholvi sandhikkarathu. "
"Apdina innikku thaan vazhkail mudhal mudhala tholvi sandhikka poreenga"
"What do u mean?"
"Hostel-la ellam gameslayum naan thaan first! Inniku aadi ungala thokka vekkaren paarunga"
"Wait until dark! Innikku rathri thaan ennoda vilaiyatte unakku puriyum"
He then symbolically puts the red (queen) coin in the carrom board into the hole.

He forbids her to get into one room saying it is totally dustyand was his Dad's old room. They meet the black cat as well. He shows her the outhouse and says his father stays there and states the 'crime not committed' story again.
"Sila paeroda vidhiya vedhana pedaruthunaala maathida mudiyathu"

They get into the bedroom for some fun whn the fone rings and some bad news is conveyed. He tells his wife he is off to office to meet his managing partners urgently. A brief encounter with the kids next door get Sridevi some information on some other female who was supposedly in the house earlier.

Kamal gets into office to meet Chitra's bro who has come to enquire about her. He has with him a bearer (Bhagyaraj) from a hotel where she was spotted with a boyfriend and wants to take him around the office to meet his staff and find out if the 'boyfriend' is there. Bhagyaraj does not find the guy he is looking for and Kamal hides from him.

Flashback to the hotel where Kamal and Chitra get really angry with Bhagyaraj for something. Kamal gets back home to a newly set up pooja room. His entry startles Sridevi when she drops some kumkum on the floor (sentimental linkages here). Kamal does not remove his shoes to get into the room and gets out when Sridevi asks him to. Sridevi goes and enquires about the other lady whom the kids mentioned about. Kamal gets angrier with Sridevi's questions as she also quizzes about wat happened at office. He just answers "Nothing", then loses his control and scribbles "Nothing", in red, on the table. Sridevi is psyched and Kamal apologises putting the blame on tension at office. Kamal says he has to leave urgently, and to Sridevi's question on what he wants for dinner replies - "Innikku nee thaan ennoda virundhu"

The gardener then gets into the bedroom when Sridevi is busy cooking and strategically places a camera, presumably to tape the night's events. Sridevi is still disturbed by the earlier outburst and leaves the tap in the kitchen open as she leaves. She bathes, dresses, and waits for her hubby. She wears a saree with a red rose pattern :) One more duet "Ninaivo Oru Paravai" happens as she waits.

As she waits, bored, for her hubby to return, she cuts an apple. She cuts her finger accidentally and some blood falls on the bedside table. In one of the most chilling scenes in the movie, the black cat jumps in and licks the blood. Sridevi runs away to the window, scared, and watches the rain outside. She sees a fountain of water coming out from a point in the garden and thinks the pipe has sprung a leak. As she watches in horror, a human hand comes out from that point in the ground. SHe runs in and ends up in the 'forbidden room'. Meanwhile Kamal is in the hotel.
As Sridevi recovers, she finds Kamal's life history scribbled on the walls. She reads it and understands that he has had very bad experiences with females right from childhood - first his stepmom and then his boss' teenaged daughter. He finds work in a rich house where his boss murders his unfaithful wife after catching her in bed with her lover. He adopts him as his son and brings him up.
"Naan unna epdi valakkanamo apdi valakkaren"
This boss is of course the dad and the murder was the 'crime for which he was wrongly imprisoned'.
Sheela is the sixth victim as he mentions there. Sridevi remembers his words - "Innikku rathri thaan en vilaiayaathu unakku puriyum"/" Innikku nee thaan enakku virunthu"


Sridevi slowly gets down to the outhouse and finds the Dad and the gardener engrossed in watching the tape in which Kamal screws and then kills Sheela. She screams, runs out and locks them inside. Meanwhile Kamal brutally murders Bhagyaraj in the hotel toilet and comes home just as Sridevi is escaping. Kamal finds out her intentions and unlocks the outhouse. Sridevi manages to run away from the house. The chase goes on to a cemetry where Kamal trips over and is pierces in his heart by the sharp end of a cross, possibly indicating an atheist being punished by a tool of God. Finally he is captured by the police.

After investigations the police come to know tht after each murder, he buries them and plants a rose plant at the spot. The conclusion is that society has made him what he is now. Sridevi meets him in jail on his birthday where he seems to have forgotten his past and has some difficulty in recognising her. She gives him red apples. She is praying for him to get well and refuses to find a new life. We see Kamal writing Sarada on the walls of his cell, the only word he seems to recollect. This time, he writes, "Sarada en Manaivi". The last shot zooms into a crying Kamal's eyes...RED with tears...


This was probably one of Kamal's and Bharathiraja's best movies. Manmathan was loosely based on this, while Ghajini had the scene in which the life history of the hero is scribbled on the walls and someone else finds out his past by stumbling upon it. The dialogues are not too many, but in most places they have a deep meaning. Music plays a big role, there are many scenes in which the characters mouth silent dialogues, with music the only thing we hear. Red plays a big role throughout. A masterpiece to be relished by people who love hatke movies.

3 scribbles:

Anonymous Anonymous says...

Thank you for your excellent review of this film. You revealed some interesting subtleties in the dialogue that I had missed when I watched the movie (perhaps because I was a kid then and didn't understand much Tamil either). It's a good story but I felt that it could have been shot and edited more professionally.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous says...

grt review of the film ..thnx

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous says...

One of the best Tamil movies. Kamal is simply amazing !

2:49 PM  

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