Super Deluxe (film)
|Directed by||Thiagarajan Kumararaja|
|Produced by||Thiagarajan Kumararaja |
S. D. Ezhilmathy
|Screenplay by||Thiagarajan Kumararaja|
Neelan K. Sekar
|Music by||Yuvan Shankar Raja|
|Cinematography||P. S. Vinod|
|Edited by||Sathyaraj Natarajan|
Tyler Durden and Kino Fist
East West Dream Works Entertainment
Alchemy Vision Workz
Super Deluxe is a 2019 Indian Tamil-language film co-written, co-produced and directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja. It features Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil, Samantha Akkineni, and Ramya Krishnan in leading roles in separate segments while Mysskin, Gayathrie, Ashwanth Ashokkumar, Bagavathi Perumal, and Mirnalini Ravi play supporting roles. P. S. Vinod and Nirav Shah handled the cinematography, while Yuvan Shankar Raja was the music director. Directors Nalan Kumarasamy, Neelan K. Sekar and Mysskin have written the additional screenplay for this film.
The film was released in theatres on 29 March 2019 and came out with critical acclaim from critics. Super Deluxe was screened and garnered the "Equality in Cinema Award" at the 2019 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. It also screened at Fantasia International Film Festival, the largest genre film festival in North America and Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. In 2019, Film Companion ranked Sethupathi and child actor Ashwanth Ashok Kumar's performances in the list of 100 Greatest Performances of the decade.
There are four interwoven stories shown in parallel.
Jyothi and her son Rasukutty are awaiting the return of Rasukutty's father Manickam, who abandoned the family seven years ago. To their shock, Manickam arrives from Mumbai as a trans woman named Shilpa. Rasukutty wants to introduce Shilpa to his friends at school. On the way, a bigoted cop detains Shilpa, and she is forced into fellating a corrupt police officer named Berlin. Shilpa faces more harassment and humiliation at the school. Distraught, she buys a ticket to return to Mumbai. On the way home from school Shilpa loses Rasukutty, and seeks help from the police. She meets Berlin again and he starts beating her. Shilpa puts a death curse on Berlin in the traditional style of a hijra and escapes. Eventually, Shilpa finds Rasukutty at home. Rasukutty reveals he knows about Shilpa's intention of abandoning them again, and confronts her emotionally. Shilpa realises that Rasukutty and Jyothi are ready to accept her as she is, and they stay together.
The TV story
Five young men (Gaaji, Soori, Mohan, Vasanth, and Thuyavan) all skip school and gather to watch a porn movie at Thuyavan's home, only to find out that the porn star is Soori's mom Leela. Soori breaks the TV in anger and runs away crying. Thuyavan, afraid of his father finding out about the broken TV, enlists Gaaji and Vasanth into getting enough money for a new TV by the evening. They accept a job from a local gangster, but fail miserably. They try to burgle a local merchant, which fails too. At his home, they are confronted by a girl with magical powers who reveals she is an alien. She duplicates Gaaji, keeping one clone for herself for companionship. The friends get money from her to buy a new TV. They toss out the old broken TV through the broken roof of a disused building, and set off to a movie theater to finally watch a porn movie like they'd originally wanted.
Soori is angrily running towards Leela with a screwdriver upon finding out she was in a porn film, when he trips, falls and stabs himself in the abdomen. A distraught Leela takes him to the hospital, and his father Arputham (formerly known as Dhanasekaran) is informed about the accident. Arputham is a survivor from the 2004 tsunami who believes that he was saved by God in the form of a Jesus statue which he held onto when the tsunami struck, converting to Christianity after the tsunami but currently having a crisis of faith. He subjects Soori to faith healing at his chapel, while Leela strongly prefers modern medicine but struggles to arrange medical expenses. Arputham's crisis of faith was triggered by a conversation with Shilpa earlier, when Shilpa, having lost Rasukutty, confesses her guilt over kidnapping and delivering children to criminal gangs. Arputham states there is no forgiveness for her. Before leaving, Shilpa tells Arputham that she too survived the tsunami by holding onto a rock but didn't attribute divinity to it. Arputham breaks the statue in a rage and finds long-forgotten diamonds inside it, which he uses to pay for Soori's medical expenses. Leela asks him whether he'd still have faith if he'd been saved by clinging onto a teddy bear instead of Jesus. He reflects on that question. Soori reconciles with Leela.
Vaembu and Mugil's story
An unhappily married woman Vaembu impulsively has sex with an old boyfriend while her husband is away, when suddenly the boyfriend dies in bed. Her husband Mugil returns to find his dead body, which they have to hide from inconvenient neighbors. They talk about their dissatisfaction with their marriage. Eventually, they manage to smuggle the corpse out of town but they are caught by Berlin, the same corrupt police officer from Shilpa's story, who blackmails the couple for sexual favors from Vaembu. After inflicting much trauma on them, as he advances towards Vaembu, intending to rape her, the old TV thrown by the boys from earlier falls on his head and kills him. The couple get rid of both the dead bodies, and reconcile with each other.
(The epilogue's voiceover is interwoven with the endings of each of the four stories.) The friends from the TV story finally go to watch a porn movie at the theater. The movie starts with a doctor speaking philosophically about the mysteries of life and patterns through the universe, with everything being interconnected in ways as yet unknown to us. He then says he's going to reveal some of those secrets to the audience now, and winks. The nurse nearby winks and starts to take her clothes off, as the porn movie titles show its name Vaazhvin Ragasiyam ("The Secret of Life").
- Vijay Sethupathi as Shilpa (Manickam), a transgender woman who returns home to her partner and son after transitioning
- Fahadh Faasil as Mugil, Vaembu’s husband who is devastated after she cheats on him, but helps her to hide a dead body
- Samantha Akkineni as Vaembu, Mugil’s wife who has sex with her ex-boyfriend, who suddenly dies in bed with her
- Ramya Krishnan as Leela, an actress whose son accidentally injures himself after he finds out his mother’s work in porn industry
- Gayathrie as Jyothi, Shilpa’s wife, who is devastated to find out that her husband is transgender
- Mysskin as Arputham (Dhanasekaran), Leela’s husband and a preacher who relies on faith healing to save his injured son
- Bagavathi Perumal as Berlin, a corrupt sub-inspector who expresses lust for Shilpa and later Vaembu (main antagonist)
- Ashwanth Ashokkumar as Rasukutty
- Ramana as Ramasamy
- Vijay Ram as Balaji (Gaaji)
- Mirnalini Ravi as Seth Girl (Alien)
- Naveen as Soori
- Jayanth as Mohan
- Abdul Jabbar as Thuyavan
- Noble K. James as Vasanth (Mutta Pupps)
- Manushyaputhiran as Sexologist
In October 2016, director Thiagarajan Kumararaja announced his next film after a gap of five years. The film was initially titled as "Aneedhi Kadhaikal" with Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil were reported to be featuring in the lead roles. Later, Samantha was signed to play a female lead role. P. C. Sreeram was chosen as the cinematographer while Yuvan Shankar Raja composed the music. Kumararaja also produced the film along with East West Dream Work Entertainment and Alchemy Vision Workz. Following a series of schedule changes during the filming process, the makers renamed the title as "Super Deluxe" and cinematographer P. C. Sreeram walked out of the project, and was subsequently replaced by P. S. Vinod. Nirav Shah joined the film as additional cinematographer. Directors Nalan Kumarasamy, Neelan K. Sekar and Mysskin have written the additional screenplay for this film, with each writing one of them writing a portion of the hyperlink. Kumararaja said the film does not belong to any single genre: "It depends on how the audience perceives it. One may burst into laughter while the other might be in a state of shock for the same scene."
After completing the first shooting schedule of Junga, Sethupathi began filming for Super Deluxe. He plays a full-fledged feminine character in the film. A still of his character was released on September 2018.At first, Ramya Krishnan was approached to play the role of Leela in the film, but due to some problems on the director's side she couldn't continue. So in order to replace her, Nadhiya Moidu was chosen for the role but again due to some problems, Ramya replaced her and was back onboard becoming the second lead of the film after Samantha.
The film had its theatrical release on 29 March 2019.
Baradwaj Rangan, in his review of the film for Film Companion, praised the director on how he had concentrated on both the larger structure of the story and also on the minute details. He wrote "This is an utterly unique film, a brave film. While watching Super Deluxe, I felt what Pauline Kael described in her review of The Godfather Part II: “the exploding effects keep accumulating. About midway, I began to feel that the film was expanding in my head like a soft bullet.” I’ll just say I’ve never seen anything like this in Tamil cinema, with its mix of the sacred and the profane, the epic and the intimate, the earthly and the otherworldly, the pop-cultural and the philosophical. It’s a film you want to view as much with a microscope (zooming in on the details) as a telescope (zooming out to the bigger picture)." In a later Film Companion segment he also mentioned that he had refrained from watching the film twice, in order to keep the movie “perfect” in his mind and not find flaws.
Srivatsan S, reviewing for The Hindu, wrote "No other filmmaker has probably romanticized the Tamil cinema universe with pop culture references as much as Kumararaja. In one of the earliest stretch, a character says, “Dai rascal! Enna maranthutiya?” For a moment, it felt as though Kumararaja was asking this question to us: it’s been eight years since he made a film. If Super Deluxe is what you get from a filmmaker who was in exile, then you don't mind waiting a few years from now till he comes up with his next eccentric film.". M Suganth, in his review of the film for The Times of India, wrote "There is black comedy, double entendres, swear words, WTF moments, political and social commentary, romance, sentiment and even a musing on what it means to be life on Earth. There is ambition, genius, and also a beating heart."
Awards and nominations
|Date of ceremony||Award||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|22 March 2021||National Film Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Vjiay Sethupathi||Won|
|8 August 2019||Indian Film Festival of Melbourne||Best Director||Thiagarajan Kumararaja||Nominated|||
|Best Actor||Vijay Sethupathi||Won|
|Best Film||Super Deluxe||Nominated|
|Equality in Cinema (Honorary Award)||Won|
|4 December 2019||Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts||Best Asian Film||Nominated|||
|4 January 2020||Zee Cine Awards Tamil||Best Actor Jury Special – Female||Samantha||Won|||
|Best Supporting Actor – Female||Ramya Krishnan||Won|
|Best Child Artist||Ashwanth Ashokkumar||Won|
|Best Editor||Sathyaraj Natarajan||Won|
|Best Art Director||Vijay Adhinathan||Won|
|11 January 2020||Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards||Best Screenplay||Thiagaraja Kumararaja
Neelan K Sekar
|Best Supporting Actor – Female||Ramya Krishnan||Won|
|Best Cinematographer||Nirav Shah
P. S. Vinod
|Best Music Director||Yuvan Shankar Raja||Won|
|12 January 2020||Edison Awards||Best Director||Thiagarajan Kumararaja||Nominated|||
|Best Actor||Vijay Sethupathi||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Ramya Krishnan||Nominated|
|Best Character Role – Female||Gayathrie||Won|
|Best Child Artist||Ashwanth Ashokkumar||Won|
|February 2020||Critics Choice Film Awards||Best Movie of the Year||Super Deluxe||Won|||
|Best Film – Tamil||Super Deluxe||Won|
|Best Director – Tamil||Thiagarajan Kumararaja||Won|
|Best Actor – Tamil||Vijay Sethupathi||Won|
|Best Actress – Tamil||Samantha Akkineni||Nominated|
|Best Writing – Tamil||Thiagarajan Kumararaja
Neelan K Sekar
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- "Super Deluxe a lip-smacking combination of "high" and "low" art". 29 March 2019.
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