Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blind Date

Satyam Cinema had this concept of Blind Date with a movie where the audience don't know which movie is going to be premiered and is in for a surprise. Travelling in mofussil buses in Tamil Nadu is akin to that. Almost every bus has a CD/DVD player and the conductor is the sole authority deciding your in transit entertainment. I have suffered through back to back viewing of Vijay movies 'Youth' and 'Shajahan' - it is difficult to say where one ends and the other begins. Even more excruciating was back to back Captain movies 'Sokka Thanam' and 'Narasimha'.

But once in a while you are hit with a pleasant surprise. I saw 'Aan Paavam' and it was still fresh twenty years after its release. A couple of weeks back I saw 'Engeyo Ketta Kural'. It is one of the movies that portray Rajnikanth the actor before he became super star. His performance was brilliant and understated especially his body language as he grows older and is weighed down with the vagaries of life.

However I found the movie regressive in its portrayal of women. Ambika walks out of her marriage after giving birth to a kid because she is enamored by the village rich man. But hearing the servants talk ill of her, she has a change of heart and returns back to the village to spend the rest of her life almost as an ascetic in repentance for her momentary madness. What is wrong in a woman walking out of a marriage she doesn't like?

I had just finished reading Neela Padmanabhan's Palli Konda Puram novel which deals with the same question in a far more nuanced way. So couldn't avoid comparing the sensibilities of the novelist and the movie director. If you are interested in Tamil literature, do read Palli Konda Puram. It is one of the better novels in modern Tamil.

6 comments:

Hawkeye said...

/*Ambika walks out of her marriage after giving birth to a kid because she is enamored by the village rich man. */

i am actually impressed that they went to this extent at least. women walking out of marriage for love/sex is as honest as it gets. the made such a hype about thiis in that KANK indhi padam. i agree that her 'change of heart' was back to status quo for thamizh padam.

usually they try to 'poosi mazhuppify' by showing 'extenuating circustances'.

for example in mudhal mariyadhai, i was dissapointed to learn that sivaji had never slept with his wife. showing him as a 50 year old "kanni paiyan" was regressive.

Chenthil said...

Hawk - that is another enduring trait of Tamil Cinema. In this movie too Ambika realises here folly before sleeping with the rich man. Her repentance is to prove to Rajnikanth that "naan manas alavula sabalapattalum innum uthami thaan". Even in films with widow / divorcee remarriage, they will show that the first marriage wasn't consummated. Even now only few movies cross that line - Vettaiyadu Vilayadu, Mumbai Express.

Take the movie Kadhal for example - the hero and heroine are separated forcefully after marriage and the heroine is married off to some one else. So she has to be 'pure' for him, hence the director shows that she has her periods when she stays with the hero.

Long live Tamil Karpu and Kalachaaram.

D.N.A. said...

2 words - "amma vandhal"

The failure of "Engeyo..." at BO is another reason we lost actor Rajni...

Chenthil said...

DNA - Amma Vandhal was about a son dealing with his mother's adultery. She doesn't walk out of the marriage. In Palli Konda Puram, she walks out of the marriage and marries another man.

D.N.A. said...

I understood that part. But I meant it from the point of portrayal of woman and her sexual liberation and all the...

Anonymous said...

Etha pathi ketha, etha pathi pesura..ayyo..