24 February 2013 | aravindnc
'Celluloid' is as much the story of Daniel, as it is of Rosie, and their haunting portrait seizes you up, even as it goes up in flames.
What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from. Beautifully put together by T S Eliot, these words seem suggestive of the life of an artist who deserved to be a part of cinematic history, but who almost didn't. In Celluloid Kamal shows what 'passion for cinema' really meant before it became a stylish thing to say. Chandni gives a lifelike performance as Rosy with stars in her eyes. Hatzz of to the entire team behind the project.
The character development is almost complete in 'Celluloid', and I say almost since it cannot afford to fill up the cracks that exist in real. It's as much the story of Daniel, as it is of Rosie, and their haunting portrait seizes you up, even as it goes up in flames. Any comparisons to 'Harishchandrachi Factory' are odious; the two films barring the fact that they talk about the struggles of a film maker, are as different from each other as chalk and cheese.
It isn't really surprising that Prithviraj makes a convincing Daniel. The vision of the film maker remains safe with him, and he captures the psychological turmoil that Daniel goes through in the later years of his life with great competence. Mamta is impressive as well, though its new find Chandni who is the scene stealer in the film. The innocence that spurts out of the corner of her lips as they stretch into a hesitant smile defines the person that Rosie must have been; unimaginably daring and yet immensely terrified.
Venu's frames maintain the elegance that is required of a biopic, while Suresh Kollam's art direction is top notch. Pattanam Rasheed'a makeup makes Daniel's transformation complete, and M Jayachandran's melodies add up to the retro feel of the film.
What is astonishing is that Kamal's film, despite maintaining a distance from us with regard to time and space, continues to fascinate us in multiple ways. Passionate, provocative and real heartrending, this is the stuff with which classic films are made.