Mayakkam Enna is the story of a young man trying to make it big in a profession he claims to love. It is the story of an ordinary man, facing ordinary problems, living an ordinary life in the end to achieve extra ordinary things. In one line, it is good.
The story begins with Karthik (played truthfully by Dhanush) and his sister living with a few other friends in a nicely decorated house. These friends are said to have brought up Karthik and his sister after their parents passed away. Sunder (one of those friends) brings Yamini into the scene as his date (not girlfriend, mind you). She encounters the most asocial of men and supportive of women in the group. Karthik calls her names and ‘sparks’ fly.
As an amateur photographer (wanting to be a wildlife photographer) Karthik goes around taking pictures in weddings and death ceremonies. Discouraged many times, Karthik persists. In the mean time, Yamini develops interest in Karthik while she is still ‘dating’ Sunder. When Karthik realises he is reciprocating the feeling, he runs away. He returns, get caught in Yamini’s arms and then ends up marrying her.
Until here, the film is supposedly about friendship, love and the dilemma in between. The rest of the film is about how Karthik goes ballistic and then finally wins an award for wildlife photography.
Misogyny and some more of that
The film begins and ends with utter disregard for womankind. Every scene, every line uttered is bordering cheapness. All the glorification of womanhood in the second half is merely euphemised perpetuation of commonly accepted stereotypes. Let me explain.
Let’s begin with this song. It is self-explanatory. So, I am saving some words here. If you do not understand why “adida avala, udhada avala, vidra avala, thevaye illa” is misogyny, please use the comments section and I am very willing to explain.
There is a good serving of calling woman “di” in the film, a healthy measure of abusive language and a lot of slapping scenes. If that is not enough, the second half is filled with pseudo glorification of womanhood.
When Karthik falls off a balcony and his nuts grow loose (sorry about the insensitivity for the beautiful mind), Yamini is still married to him and how! Karthik struggles with dealing with his failures (or the world conspiring against his success as you may call it) and takes his frustration out on his wife. She endures domestic violence practically every day, yet sending out his pictures to the Kumudhams of the world. She cooks, cleans and works for him while he beats her black and blue. She satisfies his s3xual desires and he falls asleep on top of her. He screams in the night and wakes the neighbours, but she protects him from their complaints. The marriage is merely her enduring abuse.
If that is typical of woman in Tamil films, Mayakkam Enna goes one step further. Yamini has a miscarriage when Karthik pushes her on the floor and that is when Yamini realises she has had enough. If enduring a psycho at home wasn’t bad enough, she wanted a child to endure a psycho father. Personally, I would say it was good that the baby did not get to see the light of day. I wouldn’t want a child to see its father beat up its mother every night!
Well, Tamil culture, as we know it perhaps does not agree. Yamini returns from the hospital only to stop talking to Karthik for ‘killing’ their child. She does not leave him for almost killing her but merely stops talking to him. Then the man drops his violence and behaves himself.
So, a ‘strong’ Tamil woman accepts and physical and s3xual abuse as if it is in her job description. She still bears his child and wishes well for him. Roger that.
Throughout the second half of the film, we see that there is something wrong with Karthik. Call it lack of control, lack of social skills, anger management issues or whatever, but nobody seems to believe there can be some kind of medical help given to that. Especially Yamini seems to be in some sort of denial about Karthik’s mental health. Well, that perhaps is also a part of being an ideal Tamil woman. Roger that too.
Real friends and their friendships
Apart from the one woman in the film, nobody else is God, which is as much irritating as endearing. Karthik ends up marrying Sunder’s date. Shankar wants to ‘keep’ Karthik’s wife. Sunder marries Karthik’s sister who is insecure of her own brother’s success. All their lives are intertwined in a complex way, which seems more real than anything else. Ordinary characters with simple problems: It has to be handed to Selvaraghavan for writing these characters.
In all, Mayakkam Enna is a man’s idea of how he should be nurtured while chasing his dreams. It is a man’s justification of his irrational behaviour in the name of social frustration. It is the story of a man whose wife does not have dreams of her own.