FILM REVIEW | THE CROW’S EGG
By Chaedy Ritherdon
When a pizza franchise opens near the slums of Chennai, two boys decide that they’d like to try it too. Big Crow’s Egg (V Ramesh) and Little Crow’s Egg (J. Vignesh) live with their mother and grandmother in one of the many slums in Chennai. They got their nicknames from stealing crow’s eggs out of their nests so that they could drink the yolks. The two brothers see glossy photographs of a cheese-laden pizza and they figure – rich people eat it, so it must be good, right? It’s this innocence that puts our own lives into an entirely different context and makes the Crow’s Egg so endearing.
Unlike the Slum Dog Millionaire, which was written and produced by a group of white men from England and filmed in India, The Crow’s Egg has a genuine Indian voice. Written and directed by Indian filmmaker, M. Manikandan, the Crow’s Egg tells a story of two innocent boys surrounded by a world filled with corrupt politicians, self-serving men hardened by living in poverty, corporate self-interest, a media circus, and the ever-widening gulf between middle class and the poverty-stricken slums in India. Ramesh and Vignesh really are from the slums of Channai, and this authenticity shines through in their performances.
The Crow’s Egg shows us the city of Chennai is not that dissimilar to any Australian State Capital with two notable exceptions: it’s bigger, and it has a population the size of Brisbane living in shacks made out of little more than shower curtains and corrugated iron. For most Australians, ordering a pizza is a simple process and in some regards, a sign of poverty, but for these two boys (and let’s be honest, for people living in similar poverty levels in Australia too) it is a luxury that they can only dream of. Watching the two young boys devise new schemes to overcome each barrier in their quest for pizza felt like I was watching the origin story of con artist. However, seeing the two boys navigating the morality of their options is what makes the Crow’s Egg so engrossing.
Once filming was complete, producer, Dhanush Kastooriraja, sponsored Ramesh and Vignesh’s education to help them break out of the cycle of poverty. This happy ending (or is it a beginning) for the two boys in real-world punctuates the feel-good story of the Crow’s Egg, and will have you leave the cinema buzzing.
The Crow’s Egg is now showing at Cinema Nova and The Palace Cinemas.
Directed by: M. Manikandan
Starring: V Ramesh, J. Vignesh, Ramesh Thilak, Ramesh Thilaganathan, Aishwarya Rajesh