The film begins with a ‘stunt scene’. A bank robbery and a journalist’s heroic act to help catch the miscreants. This establishes that the ‘hero Ashwin’ played rather charmingly by Jiiva (it’s really sad that a possibly-good actor gets just roles like these), is a good guy all set to fight all the evil in the world.
There is Saro (play quite convincingly by Pia Bajpai) and Renu (played by a new girl Karthika Nair) in the film. They are exemplary of the dichotomy of womanhood in Tamil cinema. Saro is a short-skirt-wearing, loudly-speaking, dumb-like-behaving, equally-friendly-with-all-men kind of a girl who apparently is in love with Ashwin. Renu on the other hand is a sari-wearing, polite, Ealam-sensitive, popularly intelligent, reserved yet pseudo brave woman that Ashwin is in love with.
If you’ve watched any Tamil film in the past, you’d know why Ashwin would love Renu and not Saro. It’s an incredible stereotype wonderfully intertwined within the film. Renu is a popular journalist covering Ealam issues for the last three years. She moves to Chennai to cover electoral politics. She writes what they call a very bold story and ends up losing the documentation (recording) when the politician threatens her. Amidst gross sexual harassment and discrimination, he establishes her vulnerability. She is forced to leave and obviously, Ashwin brings proof for her ‘correctness’ and she gets her job back. Someone who started the film as a brave reporter, she falls deep from glory after this scene.
She goes so far to ask him “did you take the risk at the night of shooting the opposition leader’s wedding to save me or to save your friend?” Yuck! Women and insecurity is a easy combination, isn’t it? For the rest of the film, however, she becomes Ashwin’s fancy accessory and nothing else.
Saro, on the other hand, is dead half way through. She is not to be taken seriously. She asks her friend (who happens to be Renu) to propose to Ashwin on her behalf. She cries a few tears and then gives Ashwin to Renu and walks towards another man! She kisses Ashwin without a thought. She hugs, dances, plays with men without inhibitions. One step further, Renu walks out of the party which Saro happily dances and enjoys. Sure shot, Saro is not marriage material.
Somehow all these films, in one way or another establish how a woman should be. I can see a whole list of boys who are going to say I am over-reacting. Suit yourself. Oh, by the way, the other woman (‘naxal’) is also killed!
The naxal stereotype
That brings me to my next big worry about the film. It uses the word ‘naxal’ and the concept very loosely. They rob banks, they plant bombs and kill people, all this apparently to have a ‘representation’ in the assembly. They manipulate people and fake situations to put one of them in a position of power. They talk lazy logic about being discriminated against and do that with no emotion. Throughout the film, I was so glad that they did not have a distinguishable accent. They sounded like one of us. But the directer kills my respect with Prabhakaran’s picture in that front page design that Renu makes of Ashwin’s scoop! Couldn’t we have ignored that? If we can not talk about issues with sensitivity, can’t we just abstain from talking about them?
The film I was told is a political thriller. It has some points to make. It is a little too late to change anything for the next five years. But it is a stunning display of Tamil Nadu’s political disorientation. There is a respectable-looking (I guess it’s Prakashraj that was the wrong casting) CM, there is a superstitious, irritating ‘leader of the opposition’ and multiple other characters playing politicians. I am glad there is no parody of anyone living or dead (or I don’t know enough) and that’s a relief. Considering Red giant movies is distributing the film, this for me, is a good sign!
That actress who turns politician, Sumitha as they very cheaply call her is a disgrace to the writer’s thinking.
I cringe when I realise that the film is co-written by a woman! (Edited 22 Apr, 9:15 PM) |I stand corrected! Subha is not female as I naively thought!|
But, the film again romanticises the entry of youth into politics. It makes it seem all easy and places the media on a higher pedestal.
Yeah. There is trashtalk about journalistic ethics in the film. I am not getting into details.
Audiences are fools
This is another of those films that takes the audiences for granted. Some emotional melodrama, some song and dance sequences in cold countries, a north-Indian publisher of a Tamil newspaper, an omnipresent, omnipotent hero, a whole unsuspecting bunch of party members and an all accepting newspaper editor! Phew!
In all, the film is entertaining no doubt. There is lots of brand positioning as well. The heroine is pretty. The hero is strong. The good wins over the evil. And there is a happily-ever-after.
The film adds to the low that Tamil cinema now is. Next time someone says “I don’t watch Tamil cinema” with an accent, I wouldn’t complain! There is nothing to these things!