After watching Bala’s Paradesi, I was reminded of Ajith‘s dialogue in Citizen: “Idhu kadhai illa; Karuppu sariththiram“
“Kamban veettu kattu thariyum kavi paadum”.
On similar lines, looks like Bala can make anyone act. Having said that, due credit must be given to Atharva for his commendable performance as Raasa, an ingenuous villager. Almost all actors have done justice to their roles, however small it may have been.
Other than Bala’s strong story, the two things that set Paradesi apart are Cinematography and Vairamuthu’s lyrics.
GV’s music adds value to the visuals but all tracks sound very similar on first hearing. Costume designer has deservedly got the National Award; the costume of Raasa, especially, made of Jute enhances his characterization.
There’s not one hint of any commercial element in the movie. Raasa is not the hero. He is just one of those hundreds of villagers who’d fallen for the bait. The story is just narrated from is point of view. Even if another random villager had been chosen, his suffering and anguish would have been quite the same. That is where I feel this movie stands out.
At a point when the narration says, “48 days later”, you are instantly able to empathize with their journey for those 48 days. Bala has succeeded in bringing that connect between the audience and the movie.
I cannot comment on whether this is Bala’s best ever, because I’ve not seen all his movies fully. But I can say that 50 years down the line, Paradesi will still be remembered for documenting a dark chapter in Indian History in an immaculate manner.