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aka The House aka Home and the World 1987 110’ col Tamil d/sc/c Balu Mahendra p Kala Das pc Shri Kala Int. st Ahila Balu Mahendra m Ilaiyaraja lp Archana, Bhanuchander, M.A. Chokkalinga Bhagavathar, Sathya, Indu

Released in the International Year of Shelter, the film tells of Sudha (Archana), a government clerk in Madras, who lives with her sister and grandfather Murugesan (Bhagavathar), a retired music teacher. They look for a new home and are advised to build one instead. Helped by her friend Gopi (Bhanuchander), she encounters harassment, corruption and obstruction wherever she turns until, in the end, the Water Authority appropriates her new house and she is last seen in a freeze-frame seeking redress through the courts. The director claimed it to be a true story, inspired by the experiences of his mother. As his own cinematographer, Mahendra uses hand-held techniques and atmospheric source lighting to great effect. There are no song and dance sequences but the movie lovingly shows the old man singing beloved Tamil songs. The music is taken largely from Ilaiyaraja’s album How to Name It. Archana’s and especially Bhagavathar’s performances stand out, while the overly emphatic figure of building worker Mangatha strikes a false note.