Through the Looking Glass: Psycho
Very rarely do we get films in Tamil which actually encourage the viewer to interpret the movie. All Mysskin films have a much deeper meaning than what’s actually shown on screen. Mysskin movies are an inch wide in their plot but the writing involved in it are miles deep. There is an after taste to every Mysskin film which makes you think about the movie days after watching the film. Be it JK (Cheran) handing over Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning to Nishanth in Yudham Sei, Kaniyan (Vishal) gifting a puppy to Naveen in the end of Thupparivalan or Anguli (Rajkumar Pitchumani) committing suicide in the end of Psycho, all have tons of inner meaning to them.
We are going to be focusing on Psycho in this article. Let's start off with the opening scene of Psycho. We are shown only close up shots with no attention thrown on the background. Mysskin wanted our undivided attention only on the serial killer, his knife and the victim. This is not merely a gateway for the title card but also to set the tone of the film, that this is how the rest of the film will feel like. This is immediately followed by the parents of the victim identifying the body. There is no incessant wailing or shouting; instead we are shown how the mother is processing the grief of the death of her daughter. She simply pushes away her husband and falls on her knees to shout Kadavule and thats it. Whats interesting to note here is that this scene was a top shot which is generally not given to a character who appears in just one scene.
Udhayanidhi plays the role of a blind person named Gautham who shows immense interest in Buddhism. There is a statue of Buddha in the centre of his house and his name directly resonates with Gauthama Buddha. The first time we are introduced to Gautham’s house we see him sitting on the upper portion of the stairs in despair. As the story progresses, every time Gautham sits on the stairs, its a few steps lower than the previous seating. In the last of such sequences, he sits on the lowest step. In a particular scene, when Gautham is sitting in the middle part of the stairs, there’s a tree etched on the wall which shows him sitting right under it. This is reminiscent of Buddha obtaining enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.
Aditi Rao Hydari’s character called Dakini means a sacred female spirit in Buddhism. Nithya Menen plays a quadriplegic named Kamala Das and one of victims murdered by the serial killer is named Sylvia Plath. Both of them are eminent writers in the real world. This shows that even the naming of the characters involve some connection to the theme of the film.
Its shocking to know that the serial killer’s place is actually a set because to get those stains and walls look aged is a difficult task. The serial killer Anguli is just focused on beheading his victims and nothing more than that. When he prepares to kill Dakini, he finds one of her footwear fallen down and puts it on her foot. Seeing no fear in Dakini’s eyes he doesn’t kill her and finds another girl and kills her hastily in front of Dakini. The seven days Dakini spends with Anguli brings about small changes in Anguli. He gives her food, treats her with respect, and at one stage cleans the blood stain on the floor.
Another interesting character in the movie could be the teacher Rachel. At one instance we see her smoking but on the other hand she condemns Anguli without hearing his side of the story. So this shows some hypocrisy over here as Rachel is doing what’s right according to her. Similarly all the characters in the film don’t try to resonate with the society or the movie watching audience. It’s Dakini who feels sorry for Anguli and liberates him, while even Gautham is silent on that matter.
Mysskin leaves a lot of room for interpretations and that’s the speciality of Psycho. Mysskin doesn’t want to spoonfeed everything to the audience. For example one might wonder about the finger in the torchlight of Singampuli’s character. I feel Singampuli would have seen Anguli missing a finger and in order to communicate this information to Gautham, bit/chopped off his own finger and placed it inside the torch light. Gautham uses this information to link it with the college incident where Anguli never took out his right hand from his pocket.
Anguli is a not a psycho at all times. For example he runs a pig farm and when someone is complaining about the tariff rates at his hotel he gives them an executive suite at a lower rate.
While the logic might seem wacky to many that a blind person is driving a car in the middle of the night, this too is justified as the cause links to the fact that Gautham is willing to give up his life for Dakini. So Mysskin makes everything believable in Psycho not by showing realistic stuff but by bringing in a cause and effect justification for such scenes.
The lyrics of all the songs in the film go hand in hand with the impending situation in the film. Unna Nenachu which means I’m thinking about you shows Gautham’s love for Dakini. Neenga Mudiyama which means Can you do it portrays Gautham’s willingness to give up his life to save Dakini by driving a car in the middle of the might despite being blind. Finally, Thaaimadiyil which means On the lap of a mother shows Anguli being liberated from his past life by Dakini. Dakini says, had she been a mother or sister to Anguli she would have kept him safely and showered him with motherly love.
While Ram singing AM Raja songs might seem irrelevant in the beginning, his death seems to be one of the most emotional scenes in the film. Generally, in many films, songs are used as a filler but in Psycho we can notice that every song be it Ilayaraaja’s own or AM Raja, all have a literal connection with the scenes. Ram sings Thanimayile and its perfect as he dies in loneliness.
One could say that Psycho is driven by emotions and not the screenplay. Scenes involving Dakini move forward because of hope. The character of Anguli is all about guilt, redemption and salvation. Gautham often says that Singampuli is the light of his life. When Singampuli is about to die his torch also dies as he had placed his finger in it instead of the battery. Thus we know that the light in Gautham’s life is gone when the torch light is no longer working. These are some beautiful examples of metaphors in the movie brought by Mysskin.
Concluding, Psycho has got in store plenty of intricate details, if noticed, are really astonishing. Not many people watch a movie more than once in the theatre but in order to truly appreciate Mysskin’s Psycho, one has to dive deep into the film many times and enjoy its beauty.