Freeze Frame #137: Pasumpon

I remember watching Pasumpon years ago on TV and thinking, there’s no earthly reason why this movie should work. The son (Prabhu) of a zamindar is estranged from his mother (Radhika) for two decades because she remarried after her husband died. He grows into adulthood and still carries around that resentment, although by now it has become more of a habit than a conviction. Indeed his own actions as the local lawmaker are in favour of widow remarriage. It is only in the end, when his mother is on her deathbed, that he manages to swallow his pride and reconcile with her. The entire movie is replete with scenes of dramatic excess. Take the timing of the reconciliation scene, for instance. The son finds out that his mother is seriously ill, and spends an entire night lying awake before walking over to her (and his stepfather’s) home. Why would he do this other than to draw out the tragedy? And yet, the closing moments manage to be powerfully moving that it comes as a surprise. Nothing about the ending is surprising, you could second-guess every line of dialogue, subtlety isn’t even on the same continent… And yet it works. Or is it just that I am an utter sap? (Most people who know me reasonably well would nod, smile and say yes, that’s exactly it. But humor me for a moment, will you?) My choice of standout scene in the movie, however, wouldn’t be the aforementioned ending. It would be one that comes a bit earlier, where the son beats up a local goon who insults and hits his mother and half-brothers. At the end, he tells the goon that, if anyone has the right to beat up on his brothers, it would be himself. Midway through my groan, the camera pans to his mother’s face. As she is led away from there, she speaks in a voice tinged with such pride in her firstborn, yet such sadness at their separation… Two decades worth of pride and sadness, distilled into two minutes of dialogue.

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2 thoughts on “Freeze Frame #137: Pasumpon

  1. Instead of trying to go for a rational explanation such as that it might be set in a village named Pasumpon (am not sure about this, though), let me try something else:

    Pasu = Cow
    Pon = Gold
    Ergo, Pasumpon = Golden Cow

    So I’m guessing Bharathiraja watched either The Ten Commandments or Dogma and decided to pay tribute to one of these movies.

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