Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Popular misconceptions which Tamil cinema has given us

“Kalyana Maalai” is an interesting series of debates which discusses social issues which have infested the society. This particular episode drove a clear point on why Tamil cinema has become an illusionary space. In this speech, the orator was quite indignant about repeated representations in movies that there is always a hero to the rescue to bash up villains, save the heroine, take up her goal as his own, and basically risk his life for her. This is not what happens in real life – but young, naïve girls with rose-tinted glasses place their trust in one of the common men they fall in love with, when only 1 in 100 of who have the kind of commitment showed in such scenes. There is no clear distinction between cinema and real life. In those times, cinema was strictly fictitious with dance, drama, historical stories, and that kind of fare. Following that, movies like Salangai Oli, Sankarabharanam and Mouna Raagam showed the harsh realities of life. But now, cinema seems to have mixed reality with fiction to deliver a product which constantly traverses boundaries just when we marvel at the truth of the scenes showed onscreen.

A link to the speech is provided here:

This makes us wonder on the number of misconceptions which Tamil cinema has offered, and the number of minds polluted by such false beliefs. The line between childhood and adulthood seems to have blurred when it comes to visual content, and just being 18 years old doesn’t provide the licence to watch adult cinema with copious amounts of violence, sex, disturbing scenes or bloodshe-d. Cinema equally influences children and adults. All of them are exposed to a very small word within office and home. Social gatherings are either thin on the ground or under the influence of alcohol; therefore, pointers for social etiquette are picked up from this medium, since there is no real life example to emulate. Here are a few of those ideas, which the society is rapidly picking up but is showing no signs of shedding:

1)      A girl must deny being in love with a guy even though she likes him (Raja Rani)

This is a typical trait which every heroine (at least those in South Indian movies) must possess. Even though she likes the hero, she has to make him follow her around for ages before she admits to being in love with him too. (After which, of course the guy can relax and take her for granted).

2)      The heroine must fall in love with the hero (Oru Kal Oru Kannadi)

 This is borderline harassment – the hero, with no kind of background, qualification, earning, or behaviour chases the heroine until she is forced to love him through threats and humiliation. The poor girl must finally give in to save a life, leave her home and parents or convince her educated parents to accept him as her husband, and after marriage, work both at office and at home (wearing only sarees) because the hero is too busy being a man and not doing anything with his life (this was not shown in the movie but would have probably been part of the sequel).

3) The heroine keeps smiling as the hero flirts and dances with multiple girls

Be it Suriya in S3, Vijay in Bairavaa, or Prabhas in Baahubali, they are free to dance around with girls and even flirt “harmlessly” with random girls while the heroine watches on without a trace of possessiveness or jealousy. She keeps smiling and waiting for the hero to come home and show displays of affection in spite of the boiling lava pit of anger in her stomach which the hero laughs off calling her a “silly girl”.

4) The only identity of the heroine is that she is the lover (or wife) of the hero

Read “Kabaali”. The heroine is an independent woman, who abandons her family to live with Kabaali who in turn abandons her when she is pregnant (which is not justified, whatever may have been the given circumstances). The heroine in turn gives birth to a baby with a bullet inside her and survives after that to wait 25 years as a servant and helper until her husband returns. She then tells the villain that she is “Kabaali oda pondaati”(Kabaali’s wife) in the climax scene. Imagine the girl’s potential if she weren’t just someone’s wife.

5) Hero saves heroine from rape even though he doesn’t know where she is until the last minute (Pokiri)

The hero has a sixth sense or intuition which leads him to save the heroine from being raped/molested just before she turns victim. Ladies, NO ONE is going to save us in real life except half an hour of exercise everyday (so that we can run fast) and pepper spray in our bags.

6) Smile remains unfazed on hero’s face even though heroine’s father displays cold behaviour (Theri)

The heroine’s father remains mute throughout the movie, expressing no opinion on his daughter’s marriage but remaining cold towards the hero, who patiently tolerates him and keeps smiling. But that’s probably why the father didn’t appear in the movie at all even when his daughter died. Ha. Who can cold-shoulder his/her groom in South India and get away with it?

These are just a few examples. The reality of life is that none of these scenes is what happens in everyday lives. But movies play a large role in influencing people, especially youngsters, in terms of behaviour, habits and sometimes even decisions. It is probably time to start thinking about more responsible cinema, and learn from some of the more practical movies like “Papanasam”, “Pink”, and “Dangal”. It is important to educate the audience that normal people do get caught in crime rackets, girls do get objectified and molested and have nobody to help them, and that sometimes parents do impose their dreams on children because in a few cases, they know what’s best for their children. One rule cannot be applied to all. One movie doesn’t depict life.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you on most of the stuff you wrote. However, there are things that happen in real life, even a movie director will not believe. My own life is an example.