Story Of Things
Onto the next release of the weekend and I have finished watching the new Tamil Anthology show Story Of Things which is now streaming on SonyLiv. The one thing(no pun intended) that did catch my attention was its raw and mysterious trailer of the show. It promised a different experience with its innovative storytelling technique. My grandma always used to say that everything in this world has some form of life even if they are non-living things. It was a fable I grew up with although as a child I had never fully understood it. And this may well be a far-fetched fact in the first place but if we were to assume it to be true, what would our world be like? While I leave you with that thought to ponder on, I was expecting a unique experience while watching the new show Story Of Things. Does it manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Story Of Things is a 5 part anthology wherein each story does revolve around an object that leads to an enchanting and mysterious drama with a different set of emotions. The screenplay of 5 episodes of roughly 40 to 50 odd minutes each does make for a slightly extended viewing than what I may have preferred. To be honest, a few stories could well have been shortened by 5 to 10 minutes for an even more impactful viewing. But this innovative brand of storytelling did hold my attention for most parts primarily due to its incredible concept.
First things first, the show is a niche and may not cater to everyone’s taste. I would even go as far as saying that it is experimental in many ways. So the best thing that you could do as a viewer is to just trust the filmmaker and not question his logic at every nook and corner of the show. One thing that did appeal to me in each of the 5 stories was the atmosphere that was created. The lighting was grim with the use of dark shades that did give an impression of a mysterious drama for which the mood was set.
The objects at the centre of each story represent different emotions here. While the ‘Weighing Machine’ is a beautiful metaphor of letting go of the turmoil of emotions and excess baggage that does reside in one of the characters, ‘Cellular’ or the cell phone was symbolic of the attachment to the mobiles, represented through the character of the mother. ‘Compressor’ was probably the only tale which had an out and out ‘horror’ attached to the object, perhaps a symbol of possessiveness that intoxicates a human body(represented through the extreme behavior or in this case the cold or warm waves). ‘Car’ was representative of a phobia that we may have encountered and the idea of simply facing it. ‘Mirror’, by far the most heart-warming one, does act as a catalyst for giving hope to an individual.
The drama here is engaging and engrossing for most parts. If anything, the length of a few stories could have been kept in check but the core idea of the stories revolving around objects is integrated well at the concept level. I did have some issues with the ending of atleast a couple of stories(Compressor and Car) wherein somewhere the clarity was missing and the outcome was rather extreme but the proceedings are enchanting and mysterious. I was the happiest watching something which was very different from the mainstream and the bold and brave writing, simply to dabble different genres must be applauded! Not all of the stories are out and out horrors and that is the beauty of it. These are human tales with objects acting as a central catalyst based on the moods of the characters. So overall, I quite enjoyed the screenplay which was magical, mysterious and enchanting.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but in a story like ‘Mirror’ they are warm amd heartfelt. So the range of dialogues is nicely defined here. The music is beautiful, emoting the required emotions beautifully. The BGM is quite good as well, never going overboard in any scene. The cinematography and the colour grading so manage to add a layer of mystery to each of the stories. The best ways to witness these tales are without knowing what to expect. Director George Antoney who is at the helm of all 5 stories does have a good sense of representing each emotion. He does a good job in creating an atmosphere of intrigue and delivering 5 compelling stories. If anything, he could improve on his finishing touches but the core skill set of engaging the audience with a unique narrative is definitely prevalent.
The performances are excellent here. Bharath Niwas as Ram does bring out the right kind of insecurities to his character effortlessly. Linga as Titus is first rate as well. Arjun Radhakrishnan as Junaid has an amazing screen presence and does an incredible job. Pallavi Das has her moments to shine and she is quite a natural onscreen. Gautami Tadimalla as the mother in ‘Cellular’ is outstanding to watch. Aditi Balan as Vannamayil is brilliant and a testimony of what a good actor she already is especially in the dying moments of her story. Roju as Raghu is top notch. Ritika Singh as Shruti is such a natural onscreen. Shanthnu Bhagyaraj does impress with his antics in ‘Car’ especially in the car portions that truly was enacted really well. Vinoth Kishan delivers a vulnerable yet warm and heartfelt performance in ‘Mirror’ and his character gives so much hope to people who would be depressed. It was a sensitive portrayal and executed phenomenally well.
Story Of Things is an enchanting, warm and mystical anthology that might be a niche but makes for a good watch. Available on SonyLiv.