The beauty of ‘Unakenna Venum Sollu’ from Yennai Arindhaal is that the star in Ajith Kumar beautifully recedes into the background during this five minute stretch of pure story-telling brilliance, letting his character of Sathyadev take us on a truly magical, soul-stirring journey along with Anikha Surendran.

On the occasion of his 45th birthday, a special cover version of the heartwarming beauty…

By Mani Prabhu

Yennai-Arindhaal-Pics-18

Over an unexpected, atrociously destined moment, on the eve of his wedding, Sathyadev is caught unguarded, unsure of himself, his career, his enemies and his priorities, dealing with the loss of his sweet-heart, and the custody of his fiance’s six year old girl, Isha.  The tough cop’s world suddenly appears to have been swapped right under his feet. A couple of weeks before, he was proposing to Hemanika, admitting to her that she was the only person who could make him cry. Two days back, he was shopping with her for the wedding saree.  And now he is comforting her daughter Isha, who is lying dazed on his lap, unable to come to terms with the horrific turn of events.

However blissfully young and naïve you are, nothing can prepare you for what it’s like to lose your mom.  More so, if she is your single parent. The initial denial slowly transforms into anger. And then, bitterness towards life creeps in. The pain is crippling, and it hits you at random moments. Isha keeps staring blankly at a distance. Life becomes a bubble, at least for the moment. Outside the bubble, there is a world of cacophony; inside is a medley of agonizing silence and muted emotions. One minute the girl seems fine, and the next minute she is cuddling up near Sathyadev in hurtful bewilderment.

Sathya’s situation is no different. Losing your sweetheart of five years- the one who meant everything to you – on the wedding eve, is one thing. It can shake you to your soul’s core, leaving you numb and full of fearful doubts regarding your beliefs. But, explaining the loss to the little girl, who is processing her grief in bite-size chunks, is a whole new ball game. No, being a cop doesn’t help. Would she be able to comprehend or come to terms with the loss of the ‘mother’ figure – forever? Does she realize the implications of not having her first friend and playmate for life? What is a seven year old’s capacity to understand death? What, at all, is the right answer to the question “Where is my mom?” He attempts reasoning that she has gone away from them; for good. Isha glances up to him, her eyes fixed at an intense gaze. That look says quite some things. She knows that he is lying, and that her mom is actually dead. And she is in denial about it.

Impulsively, Sathya goes lapping for vengeance, but returns even more confused – his body and pride wounded – to live another day for his kid. This is when he realizes that he needs to be first alive to secure Isha’s future. The grieving and disconcerted kid had to become his priority. Everything else, including his career and all the pent up anger had to take a back-seat, for now. Impulse slowly gives way to instinct. He vows to believe in his dad’s ideals, taking a resolve which in all probability, could be a life-changing one and decides to embark on a soul-searching journey with the seven year old.

The destinies of two adorable people have been irreversibly intertwined.

“Wherever you go, go with all you heart”, they say. Sathya goes wherever his heart takes him, and in the process of getting to know more of Isha, he contemplates on all the things life had thrown at him. Where does he stand? What does this girl mean to him? Together, they explore as they travel, not only mountains, rivers, roads and desserts, but also each other – not to escape life, but for life not to escape them.

உனக்கென்ன வேணும் சொல்லு
உலகத்தை காட்டச் சொல்லு
புது இடம் புது மேகம் தேடி போவோமே!

பிடித்ததை வாங்கச் சொல்லு
வெறுப்பதை நீங்கச் சொல்லு
புது வெள்ளம் புது ஆறு நீந்திப் பார்ப்போமே!

As with every long trip, who you travel with, matters more than the destination. And in this journey of unlikely partners, the destination is shunned with blissful apathy. Sathyadev and Isha spend all their time together, following their instincts. They free themselves from labels. They lose control willingly. They ignore routine. At one point, their days and nights pan out as a singular sun and moon. They learn from every single game played and the sprawling world around. They collect memories. And slowly, for Isha, each day becomes a journey, and the journey itself becomes her home.

இருவரின் பகல் இரவு
ஒரு வெயில் ஒரு நிலவு..
தெரிந்தது தெரியாதது பார்க்க போறோமே!


உலகென்னும் பரமபதம்
விழுந்தபின் உயர்வு வரும்
நினைத்தது நினையாதது சேர்க்க போறோமே!

Actor Ajith Kumar in Yentha Vaadu Gaani Movie Stills

A year passes. Isha’s initial reluctance – the strain of a grieving child – to bond with a seemingly unknown person gradually gives way to a strange comfort in Sathya’s company. She starts recognizing him as a responsible guardian, someone with whom she can feel safe and be herself. Sathya actually gives her the best gift a girl can get in this world – the space and opportunity to chase her dreams. And Isha in turn gifts Sathya something he needed the most at that moment – trust.

As another three sixty five days fly by, that ‘trust’ keeps Sathya going; despite the gnawing pain of not having Hemanika to talk to, to confide to, and to share his joys and fears. While you have lost your partner, you certainly do not lose the love that you once had together… and the life that you lived with them is something you would never “get over”. No matter how much time passes and no matter where your new life takes you, you will never be totally “over it”. For Sathya, the now-nine-year-old Isha, fills in his fond memories of Hemanika. Despite all setbacks, she makes his life worth all the emotional struggles. As they get to know each other’s preferences, passions, and idiosyncrasies, he lives his dreams through her. Isha, just like Hemanika, brings out the vulnerability, hidden deep inside his psyche. And Sathyadev seems to enjoy it.

கனவுகள் தேய்ந்ததென்று கலங்கிட கூடாதென்று
தினம் தினம் இரவு வந்து தூங்க சொல்லியதே!

எனக்கென உன்னை தந்து உனக்கிரு கண்ணை தந்து
அதன் வழி எனது கனா காண சொல்லியதே!

நீ அடம் பிடித்தாலும் அடங்கி போகின்றேன்
உன் மடி மெத்தை மேல் மடங்கி கொள்கின்றேன்!

And gradually, as another year slips out in a matter-of-fact manner, comfort gives way to incessant smiles. Isha starts to look upon Sathya as her inspiration, learning a lot from him, forming strong positive opinions and proudly acknowledging him as her lovable tutor. She starts calling him ‘Sathya’ again. Actually, he didn’t set out to replace her mother. And he can’t! He just wanted to give her the best growing experience. But it happens on its own. Over a candid moment, Isha accepts him as someone more than her best friend. They might not have travelled as much as they would have wanted, but emotionally, the distance that they have bridged over a period of four years is proof enough of the magic of travel.

எழுதிடும் உன் விரலில் சிரித்திடும் உன் இதழில்
கடந்த என் கவிதைகளை கண்டு கொண்டேனே!

துருவங்கள் போல் நீளும் இடைவெளி அன்று
தோள்களில் உன் மூச்சு இழைகிறதின்று!

And as Isha grows into that cheerful, independent and bold eleven year old girl, the grieving is still there, but she seems to have made some kind of peace with it. She has found her dad, after all. Did the former lead to the latter, or the other way round? Nobody cares. Neither Sathya nor Isha. A lovely bond of a lifetime had strongly taken root.

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Isha gets this note from Sathya on her thirteenth birthday.

To my dearest daughter,

I didn’t teach you anything. You taught me the world. Love, perseverance and priorities. I didn’t happen to you. You happened to me to help me tide over my impulsivity. And as you grow older, I want you to fly out bearing in mind your inherent nature. Go forth and pursue all your dreams. Live life to the fullest and make sure that your happiness is second to none. And while you are at it, just remember that every time you need a hug or someone to call your very own, I’m always here.

Your best friend,
Sathya.

To which, Isha responds…

Dear pa,

I am here because of you. You are the reason I am. So, stop all this emotional blah blha. It doesn’t suit you. Go spend some time with Thenmozhi. She needs you.

Love,
Isha.

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself”, they say. Two almost unknown persons do. And emerge, finding out who they really are destined to be. Yennai Arindhaal!

Credits:

Sathyadev – Ajith Kumar

Isha – Anikha Surendran

Hemanika – Trisha Krishnan

Lyrics – Kavignar Thamarai

Camera – Dan Macarthur

Direction – Gautham Vasudev Menon