Touring Talkies is a 2015 Tamil anthology film written and directed by S.A.Chandrasekhar. The film consists of two stories in which S.A.Chandrasekhar himself acted in the lead role with Kolkata actress Papri Gosh along with Abi Saravanan and Manobala. Kerala actress Sunulekshmi, Ashwin Kumar, Roboshankar, Jayabalan, Sevvalai,form the cast in the second story. The music score is composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The audio launch happened on 26 January 2015. The film was released on 30 January 2015.
Supposedly his swansong, veteran SA Chandrasekaran gives us two separate movies put together as one in Touring Talkies. In the first film, Love @ 75, he plays the lead for the first time as a 75-year-old man who is searching for the love of his life, who, 50 years ago, walked away from him under parental compulsion. He learns that she is in Shimla and goes there with barely a month to live. A couple of small-time thieves help him in the search. Does he find her?
SAC tries to go all emo with this old couple romance but the film is overlong and the premise hardly novel. He does better as an actor, playing a character who is young at heart but is counting his days. We get his love story as flashbacks, and even that one isn’t fresh. He also seems to have been least bothered about staying true to the period (a character talks about AIDS, which was identified only in the early 80s, though the scene is happening 50 years ago!), and there are large stretches where we just have to put up with him roaming the hill town in search of his lover. It is only in the climax that we begin to feel for the character and even this is largely due to Ilaiyaraaja’s Aasai Mugam Marandhu Poche.
The next film, Selvi 5am Vaguppu, deals with sensitive topics — child rape and caste — but is presented rather crudely. Selvi, lower caste schoolgirl, who stands up against Chinnayya and Gurusamy, two powerful upper caste men, is raped and murdered and the two men manage to convince the village that the girl hanged herself. But her sister, Poongodi, with support from an empathetic cop and two journalists (who should surely rank among the most inept), decides to take revenge.
This film once again proves that when commercial filmmakers tackle sensitive issues, it largely ends up as a high-minded and amateurish attempt. When a revenge plan consists of urinating in the coffee and liquor of the perpetrators and making them eat shit as chutney, we just can’t help rolling our eyes. And, how can we be expected to take a film where scenes of child rape co-exist with titillating scenes of a woman in her knickers seriously? But the bigger question is how did a film on subjects like child rape and caste issues, and with a scene where an old man in his loincloth gets oil massage manage to get away with a U/A certificate?
Directed by S.A.Chandrasekhar
Produced by S.A.Chandrasekhar
Screenplay by S.A.Chandrasekhar
Story by S.A.Chandrasekhar
Starring S.A.Chandrasekhar, Abi Saravanan, Manobala, Ashwin Kumar
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography Arun Prasath, Pradheepan
Production Staar Makers
Release date 30 January 2015
Running time 136 minutes