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Gypsy Movie Review: Raju Murugan’s Gypsy is a film that couldn’t have come out at a better time. With the memory of the recent communal riots in the nation’s capital still fresh in our minds, the issue that the film deals with – the politicisation of religion and its dangerous fallout – is extremely relevant now more than ever. The director uses the story of a nomadic musician who is literally named Gypsy (Jiiva, whose earnestness carries the film forward even in its weaker moments) to present his thoughts. The child of an inter religious couple who lose their lives in an Indo-Pak war, he is raised by wandering musician, who tells him to find and never let go of that face he would remember at his deathbed.
For the grown-up Gypsy that face happens to be that of Waheeda (Natasha Singh, okayish in a strangely passive role), a girl from an orthodox Muslim household. To her, Gypsy and his lifestyle represent the one thing that her life lacks – freedom. Raju Murugan doesn’t build up their romance as something grand. They are attracted to each other, but neither is consumed by a burning sense of passion. The way they elope has to be one of the most understated elopement scenes in Tamil cinema. There is no major drama that follows. Just one exclamation from her father, Muthalippu (Lal Jose).
It is in fact in such quiet moments that Gypsy is at its most potent. We get repeated shots of the wandering couple at various places of worship and these visuals alone drive home the point that the director wants to make – manidham mattum punidham.
This is why the episodes that follow the communal riot are jarring. And two factors affect our emotional response. One is Raju Murugan’s writing, which suddenly transforms the story into a grand romance where the lovers must transcend external and internal barriers to come together again. The second factor, which is more problematic, is the censoring, which takes the sting out of the lines and the situations. Even rallies and riots are leeched of colour visually – a stark contrast to the highly saturated visuals we otherwise see. It ensures that whatever political statement that Raju Murugan intended to make stays diluted.