PIZZA (Dir. Kartik Subburaj, 2012, India) – Tamil New Wave Cinema


Pizza is a Tamil film pointed out to me in an article by K Hariharan titled ‘After the Cinema of Disgust’ in which he discusses the ‘renegade New Wave Tamil Cinema’. Hariharan focuses on three films in particular; Pizza, Naduvula Konjam Pakkathu Kannum (Some Pages in the middle are missing), and Sudhu Kavvum (Thou shalt Not Gamble). All three films are marked by the presence of Vijay Sethupathy, a new face in Tamil cinema. It is unlikely any of these films will be distributed in UK cinemas. In fact, all three films are already available on DVD in India, having been hits at the box office. Having seen very little Tamil cinema, director Kartik Subburaj’s Pizza is a genre piece that mixes supernatural idioms with postmodern twists. It is a skillfully crafted narrative in which Michael, a frustrated twenty something who delivers pizzas for a living, conspires with his girlfriend to concoct a genuinely gripping ghost story for personal reasons. Made on a low budget, Pizza was a sleeper hit in Tamil and is already being prepped for a Bollywood style remake. Actor Vijay Sethupathy is superb in the lead role and it is not difficult to see why he is being singled out as an emerging talent in the Chennai film industry. Although Hariharan says none of these films make any explicit connection to the wider reality of Tamil society and exist in a prism of self contained internal narrativity, Pizza is a film that transcends any cultural barriers since it speaks in a voice familiar to us from a shared understanding of genre conventions. In fact, it would be more suitable to position the film as an example of Tamil indie cinema. It’s also a brilliant piece of filmmaking.


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