My feminism

I got called a female chauvinist last evening (actually my writing was called a female equivalent of chauvinism – the assumption that chauvinism is male by default was curious). While I do not respond to all accusations/ name-calling towards me, this one gave the final nudge publish the post I’ve left lying in my drafts for so long.

What is my feminism?

A good friend once asked me why feminists fight so much among themselves. For one who has been following any kind of –ism, it’s natural to know that definitions are subjective and open to interpretations. Feminism is no different. For this reason, there is no consensus about what feminism should mean (if at all it should mean the same thing to all).

As someone who appreciates subjective opinion (and debate of objectionable opinions), I venture here to define what feminism means to me. Feminism is the pursuit of equality: equality of rights, fair treatment, reasonable expectations, unequivocal respect and due share of voice. My feminism is about pointing out the bias in the status quo and debate for positive change. It is about challenging patriarchy and seeking a more gender-neutral public (and private) space.

Why is it important?

I’ve been told several times that feminism is no more relevant – women can vote, pilot flights and marry the man of their choice –  therefore, we must all drop the feminist hullabaloo and go on with our business. Another argument from the feminism-is-no-more-needed brigade is that women are equal to men now and talking feminism creates a wrong impression that there is indeed inequality.

Let me explain this with anecdotal evidence. Someone I worked for, a man I had immense respect for as a professional, went to a conference once. He was totally underwhelmed at the discussions that happened there and was complaining about all the speakers and their incompetence. However, when he spoke about a lady, who happens to be the CMO of a major corporation, he said “I don’t know who she had to fu(k to become the CMO. She has nothing else going for her”. If that isn’t enough reason for you to believe there is still bias that needs to be challenged, I can go on with the anecdotes. Or would you rather I point you in the direction of some research?

Then why rant about religion, caste etc.?

Because they are all equally important. None of us are fools to think all women have the same difficulties or the same privileges. Dalit women, homos3xua! women, urban (/rural) women, Muslim women, obese women have all their own set of issues that need to be spoken about and dealt with. Perhaps, the reason why one feminist has an entirely different point of view about a certain issue from another is that there are very many layers that need to be taken care of.

While white, middle class feminists in the Europe are worried about how feminist is high heels, there are a group of them fighting to be able to compete at the Olympics. The reasons priorities change are various – but almost always comprise of religion, caste, culture, history, sexual orientation and the like.

Writing a feminist account arising from being a woman alone (if that is even possible) would be half-baked and useless.

Why do I do movie reviews?

If you haven’t already read the disclaimer on my blog, let me explain this to you. I do not treat myself as the sole authority on goodness/ badness of films, in fact the technicalities are sometimes irrelevant to me.

As the blog header points, the only thing that is of concern to me is the representation of women (femininity, female perspectives etc.). We’ve all read enough research to show that films go beyond entertainment and help shape the cultural and political leanings of the society. I believe I have a point of view that arises from education and experience, is legitimate and is meant to begin a healthy debate. I don’t give scores to films, I don’t rank them on any scale, I don’t even ask you not to watch a film. If at all, I only ask you to watch a few films I’ve found interesting – from my (by now sufficiently disclosed) ideological perspective.

So what makes me right?

My point of view – derived from observation, reading, and debate. While I always argue for equality and fair representation, never once have I argued that women are better than men at anything or must be held higher. That, is in fact, the opposite of what I endeavor to argue.

Now that you’ve heard me out about my feminism, if you still want to debate, bring it on, I say!

Reservation in the bus and peripheral problems!

Over the last two days, I was part of a conversation that can be seen as a metaphor for the way ‘the privileged’ look at reservation. (Read this one about privilege – some interesting points made). I’ll leave the metaphorical interpretations to you and make a few points that I wish to strictly about reserving seats for women in buses.

When are reservations needed (or administered) 

My personal experience tells me that reservations are needed (or administered) in situations where there is a one has been historically marginalised (or even is being marginalised).

All reservations – based on caste/ creed/ race/ gender – are aimed at lending a helping hand to a group that has been marginalised and need help to reach even moderate levels of equality and acceptability. How this reservation is handed out is perhaps a topic of debate but you cannot argue generally that reservation is bad. Again I am digressing. This is about BMTC alone.

Now then, there is a reservation of seats in buses (16 out of about 64 seats in Bangalore and 50% in Chennai – as some Chennai folks tell me) to ensure women are given equal (or near equal) opportunity to avail facilities. Reservation, by definition, is a claim to something. If 50% seats are reserved for women, it’s understood that a woman is entitled to it and can be used by others in case there is no woman to claim it – same goes for seats reserved for the elderly and disabled as well. Given that, a man is expected to get up from his seat and give way to a woman who is entitled to it, by law.

If that is clear, here are some scenarios.

Scenario 1: If a man is seated on a women’s seat and a woman is standing. He is expected to give it up for a woman who claims it – social protocol says he must volunteer, but then who cares, right? So, when the seat is unclaimed, he can stay seated there as long as he wishes.

Scenario 2: If a man is using a seat reserved for a woman and a woman claims it, he has to give it up. Legally, it is her seat. Now, all you standing on your moral high grounds can argue about the right-ness of a woman to claim it. But she is entitled to it. She claims it.

Scenario 3: This is the interesting part. If a woman is seated in what is not reserved for women, she may not be legally asked to give up her seat simply because it is not reserved for a man. It is simply not reserved for a woman/ transgender/ elderly/ physically challenged or whoever else. That seat is available on first-come-first-served basis. If you have problems with that law, go fight in the court. DO NOT go around breaking the law. That is like saying – “I don’t think a licence is a fair way to judge my driving skills. So, I will drive around without it.” Absurd, to say the least.

In this context, let me bring in all the relevant and irrelevant points.

The relevant ones:

The point about women given the reservation of seats because they are often sexually harassed by men is greatly valid. More often than not, it is the men that harass the women. One of the reasons the law of reservation exists is to protect women from such situations.

The point about giving the marginalised an opportunity to speak up for themselves is very valid. In this case, women are often victims of patriarchy. 50 years ago, a woman would have been petrified of asking a man to give her a seat – mostly even standing out of respect to men, stranger or otherwise. So, a reservation gave them claim to it. This is greatly relevant even today.

The irrelevant ones

Chennai is more cultured than Bangalore – Great! Keep the change! (Oh yes. I am feminist you see? I have no sense of humour. Sorry).

About sexual harassment – if your point is that there are assholes among women and therefore they should not be entitled to reservation, it is irrelevant. All men in the world did not get murdered because some are rapists. So, sorry.

If it outrages you that all women are playing victims because they are even now being deprived of what is rightfully theirs, you are irrelevant. No you are not. You are actually harmful to the idealistic aim of equality in society.

Reservation will not save women from gropers. #ok

Anyway, the point is irrelevant arguments like these are the reason anti-dowry law is lobbied to be withdrawn (look at points 12 & 13). You may also look here and here.

And in the end, if you have half a thing to say, please type it out in the comments section. I am not an expert in reservation and I’d like to hear from you if I’ve been mistaken. Try and keep it relevant though! :)

Ayyo, feminist!

I’ve been a lot of things in the last 25 years I’ve spent on the planet – a daughter, a sister, a friend, a dude, an enemy, and a fool among other things. The one thing that was most troublesome of them all is being a feminist.

Being a feminist is obviously not like being a woman – you can’t look down my neck and see that I am a feminist, right? I have to go out of my way and say it – talk about it, hang out with other feminists, read a book that’s called ‘feminist film theory’ or at least shout out on my blog header. The moment someone spots I am a *feminist*, the conversation travels through a whole new tangent. Some apologise, some cringe, some turn away and some others try to talk me out of it. The most common reactions to me being feminist had to be televised…err, written about.

Have I offended you?

The most common reaction to my being a feminist is apology. I’ve known people all my (feminist) life being sorry for my being feminist. Most people begin conversations saying, “I hope you don’t get offended by my saying this, but I think…” When any sentence begins this way, I want to sigh, bite my fist, drop a little tear and run dramatically into my room weeping my heart out like Saroja Devi in Anbe Vaa. NOT.

Do you really have a boyfriend?

This is an extension of people thinking that all feminists are women and most of them are single (or l3sbian), have *bob cut*, burn bras as a hobby, smoke incessantly, are extremely unsatisfied and abnormal. Some people have gone so far as to ask ‘what kind of a man is in love with a feminist?’ and asked *me* that question for good measure. Here, I shall let you in on a little secret. My boyfriend is imaginary – there is no real person I can call a boyfriend and I live happily in my imaginary (feminist) relationship! Peace?

Now you are overdoing it!

This is every sociologist’s nightmare. When I watch movies I observe hidden meanings that have been passed on over generations to indicate (and perpetuate) a particular idea. When Rajinikanth says “adhigama aasapadra aambalayum, adhigama kovapadra pombalayum…” you do realise that he is saying it is all right for men to get angry (which in turn leads to physical/ s3xual abuse)? No? I am overdoing it? Okay.

Come on. Take a joke.

“Chris Gayle *raped* the Delhi Daredevils bowlers” was taught to me one evening as funny usage. I’ve been led to believe that saying one person outperformed another is the same as raping the other person. When I refused to believe it, I am generally asked to come on and take a joke!

I am not much of a feminist

This is what I hear from the ladies. This is the female apology to mean that they are sorry they are not as much feminists as I am. They don’t mind men opening their car doors, carrying their heavy luggage, fixing their *technology* problems or making their travel plans as long as the men are willing to do dishes, change their children’s diapers and earn for the family.

My dream reaction

You know all said and done; I don’t think I have seen the worst yet. I am waiting for the day when a child will look at me and say, “Ayyo, feminist” (like Ayyo, bootham) only to run and hide in the dupatta of his/ her mother. That day will also come and bring along with it tranquillity and peace to my feminist mind!

Saguni – will turn in his grave

(Lack of) Direction: Shankar Dayal (Sharma – as Kalaignar TV just called him)

Featuring: Karthi, Santhanam, Pranitha, Prakash Raj, Nasser, Roja, Radhika, Kiran, Kota Srinivasa Rao mattrum palar

Political thriller (was it?)

Our politics begins and ends with electoral politics. So, Boopathi is a cruel-mindless-evil politician (played rather convincingly by Prakash Raj) who doesn’t think twice about murder, theft, inducing riots or even wickedly eliminating competition. There is no good side to him. He is evil and is going to ruin Tamilnadu for his personal benefit.

One victim of this politician’s pursuit of personal benefit is Kamalakannan (Karthi, the hero) who wants to retain *his* property and stall the construction of an underground subway/ underpass. There is an explanation about how he has been wronged. But in essence, this is the *struggle* of a man who refuses to let go of his *personal property* for infrastructure development of the state.

From there, he uses his brains, sends Santhaanam to jail, manipulates a saamiyaar, starts wearing glasses, becomes a *king maker* and establishes the *right* rule *for the people*.

Common man at politicians’ mercy

Like every other political film that Tamil cinema makes (Dhool, Ko etc. being examples), the common man (of course not the hero, you dud) is always at the mercy of these high and mighty politicians. Saguni, being the story of a *king maker* only accentuates the lack of public participation in *king making*. With this being very close to real life, I don’t know if it (the realistic representation in the film, I mean) is a good thing or bad.

Women power

This is the most bothersome part of the film for me (it is a feminist’s blog. What exactly were you expecting?) The film has unnecessarily many female characters – but I am going to bring up each of them and discuss (of course).

The eye candy lot

There is Sridevi (the hero is named Kamal, you see?) who dances in foreign locations, looks pretty, uses the hero to protect her against miscreants but later ignores him on instructions of her mother. We could have done without her. But you see, the film is all talk about her (love) – so one number heroine has to be shoved on us. And on the hero in the last scene.

Then there is Anushka and Andrea just to hype up our hero (Oh-my-god-he-is-so-desirable)! Even Rajini Appadurai (Santhaanam, as you’d have guessed) has a *jodi* who ignores him when he is a driver but is impressed with him when he becomes the Mayor’s PA (the job that he got on the recommendation of Kamal who has the Mayor on speed dial. There is no hint that he is even qualified for the job. Anyway, the woman isn’t looking for any such thing, is she now?)

The family lot

The atthai (Roja) is a selfish woman who takes her share of property and leaves for the city when the others in her family are giving away everything they have for *feeding* the poor. She uses her nephew (?) as a driver and throws him out when the job is done.

Devadharshini appears in one scene and weeps for the death of her parents (though plays no role in avenging or even seeking justice for it).

Then the political lot

There is this role played by Kiran – an ambitious woman who wants to make it big in politics. She is dressed in sexy sarees and appears as Boopathi’s set up. She displays no intelligence, finesse, political ability or even just independent thinking. She is Boopathi’s puppet, just sometimes being an annoying woman who could be eliminated (which Boopathi attempts later in the film).

There is Ramani Akka (so much for Radhika playing this role) who goes from idli kadai to kandhu vaddi vasool rani to Mayor. If you’re convinced that is a common woman’s guide to an empire, hear me out. She makes no decision on her own – she is asked to contest in elections by Kamalakannan and she does so. He plans her election campaign and gives her the *out-of-the-box idea* of distributing cricket bats to voters’ children (as bribe, of course). He stops her while she is about to withdraw her candidature in return for money. She is also a puppet. She is mightier because she is the hero’s puppet. That is all. Kamal, however, goes as far as to use her for his personal benefit (of saving his house, #youremember). She becomes the Mayor because the Mayorship this tenure is *reserved* for a *woman* and she is the only woman councillor in Chennai. She implements his plans to demolish the property that may belong to the CM. So on and so forth.

In short

~      The first half is unnecessary – so is most of the second half.

~      There is no logic to most of what happens in the film nor there is any meaning.

~      Santhanam is funny – Karthi not so much (there is a scene where he says “thanni, kanni, su….” and waits only to complete that with soodhu. Sigh).

~      (Personal) good wins over evil

~      People dump money on Saamiyaars even if they were sitting around smoking beedi

~      Political thriller, my foot!

Further reading

I hear from people very often that my reviews tend to be biased and (unreasonably) negative. So, I’ve decided to also put up some links from other reviewers. Here are some other reviews I read today. Will update when blog reviews come up.

Pavithra Srinivasan – Rediff

Bharadwaj Rangan – The Hindu

Romal M Singh – DNA (positive review. lol)

Muppozhudhum un Karpanaigal – Delusional

Muppozhudhum un Karpanaigal is a horrible mishmash of a psycho thriller, romantic comedy and a sentimental mother-son drama.Having said that, I have to explain!

Opening scene

 Atharva jumps off a wall wearing a hooded jacket and terrible makeup. He almost reminds us of Kandasamy and then we suddenly realise that Kandasamy was in fact better than this (if that is even possible). With a sharp device with a handle (perhaps, meant to be a stylish knife), he tries to kill two men who are very evidently utilising some skimpily clad women for their pleasure. They drive off in their car and then the opening credits roll. If you haven’t already left the theatre, I’m sorry for you (as much as I am about myself now).

 Story and something to that effect

Ram, played rather uncomfortably by Atharva) is this handsome hunk working in a software company in Chennai where he has this other skimpily clad woman chasing him around to “love” her. She changes the “network password” and therefore no one can do his or her work in this “software company”. Atharva asks her to login with the changed password on his Mac and she refuses to do it unless he kisses her OR says ‘I love you’. He, however, refuses to do so because he is committed to this girl in Bangalore. He talks of her and says, “Oru moonu nimisham ava kitta pesi paaru. Nee ponnungardha marandhu neeyum avala love panna aaramichiduva”! Thereon, it only gets worse.

The feminist outrage

 There are two women playing important roles in the film and then some sidekicks. I’ll get to the sidekicks later.

Ram is in love with this ‘dream girl’ in Bangalore called Charu. She joins him for a project, lives in the same apartment as his, makes his coffee, takes him out shopping, insists he bathes very often and motivates him to pursue his idea for a competition (which is a software that saves people from radiation from outer space that is killing sparrows and flowers). When his mother passes away, she goes to his hometown and feeds him, she takes care of him in his depressed days, encourages him to make his own presentation and lets him sleep on her lap when he is upset. She is motherly, displays no intelligence (her idea for the competition was to write software for banking solutions) and is exactly how a woman should be (as decided by you know who).

 Ram is brought up by this widowed mother who is symbolic of how women should be (perhaps in an alternate universe). She gets widowed and brings up her son with the money that her husband had loaned out to a kovil Iyer. One night, a man tries to sexually assault her and in the process tells her that he is doing so because she is beautiful. Oh my god, isn’t it a crime for a widow to be beautiful (on yes, women still have to live in the 16th century)! The next morning she shaves off her hair and becomes ugly and unattractive instantly. Thereafter, men do not sexually assault her and the one who tried that stunt on her earlier also bends his head down while he walks past. She is rude and nasty to everyone else but loves her son dearly. When the son goes to Chennai to make his life, she stops eating and sleeping and dies because she cannot survive without him.

There is this visually challenged woman who uses the phone number Charu used earlier. She takes calls from Ram and talks to him like she is Charu (and has been doing this for years). He is such a darling lover that, this woman now waits for him to call every week. Yikes.

 That woman at work who chases after him to love her, Ouch!

 Motivational Delusion

Half way through the film, we learn that Ram has motivational delusion and he is hallucinating that he has a girlfriend and she lives in Bangalore, when in fact, she lives in the States and she is engaged to someone else. Motivational Delusion, what I believe is a psychological illness, is treated like some kind of a fancy designation to have. The only cure to the disease apparently is Charu’s death (rip off from Chandramukhi, clearly). However, when Ram learns that she is dead (or rather kidnapped), he comes back home, waits for three days and then hallucinates her returning again and lives happily ever after with her. What makes it worse is how he cannot differentiate his delusion from a real person. When real Charu comes to his house, there is no disconnect and people live happily ever after still! Duh, director!

 Not only does Ram hallucinate about this woman living with him, but also about a few men who are out to kill her. He believes that these two men (son of a minister and an industrialist) kidnap her. He chases them around (wearing strange makeup) and finally kills them one day. This, however, is perceived by Charu and her doctor uncle as his ability to keep her safe. Fantastic!

(Moral) Police

There is this Police (uncle of Charu’s) who shows up at many places in the film. The most prominent of all appearances is when he tells Charu, “we both know who committed these murders. But the murdered men are womanisers and criminals. Justice is done.” In essense,the Karnataka Police commissioner does not investigate the murder of his Home Minister’s son out of choice! Fantastic part 2!

The climax

Charu and her doctor friend try to stage her kidnap and murder to cure Ram of his delusion. She gets kidnapped, no doubt, but by her fiancée’s friends who tell her how they’ve killed three women before because her fiancée is more to them than a friend or a business partner. Wah wah! Some gay s3x clan killing women dating one of them? Fantastic part 3!

Finally, the doctor uncle saves Charu and takes her to the hospital. For a good measure he also convinces Charu’s father to get her married to Ram and so she goes back to the apartment to fit into Ram’s delusion. Final Fantastic!

In summary, the best thing about the film is G V Prakash Kumar’s Music. Now, that says it all, doesn’t it?!

If you have a funny bone left in you, here’s a look at the director of the film.

Vaagai Sooda Va – Victory beckons

This is one of those films that I have been waiting a long time to watch. It was not released in Bangalore and I had to watch on a thiruttu VCD. Giving credit to the lack of clear sound, a big screen, darkness, popcorn and suspension of disbelief, please read this review for what it’s worth!

Image Courtesy: Galatta.com

Every time a film is made in Tamil at the backdrop of a village, I have come to expect a horrifying painful ending which leaves me sleepless for a couple of nights. This expectation has, of course, been built by watching films such as Mynaa, Avan Ivan, Paruthiveeran and Thenmerku Paruvakaattru. Period film Subramaniapuram did not give us much to smile about in the end either. It is indeed disturbing to watch a beautifully made film with a horrible ending. With this at the back of my mind, I watched Vaagai Sooda Va anyway. I don’t regret it.

Vaagai Sooda Va is a story set in the 1960s Kandeduthaan Kaadu every resident of which is engaged in the manufacture of bricks. The village – known as the place from where the best bricks in the state are manufactured – is home to a bunch of families that uneducated, illiterate, innocent and hardworking. To this village comes a ‘Government job aspirant’ sent by a ‘private organisation’ to teach children. The villagers don’t receive this very well. They see no need to be taught.

Through the protagonist’s journey of trying to teach the children in the village, he learns how to face a chasing goat, how to cure himself of the effect of a ‘poisonous’ fruit, how to catch fish and how to do some math! Every one of his interactions with the children in the village is beautifully crafted. The scene where he is called “thevadiyappaya” by a child only to later realise he was told “thedi appadla” is true joy!

The tea-tending female lead is one of the most artistically written characters in contemporary Tamil cinema. She makes tea, cheats the man off his money and then serves him good food, takes care of her father’s business and boldly asks the man to marry her (in fact even working on earning her dowry). She has a sense of energy and charm with the innocence that only belongs in rural India. She is beautiful without make up. Such is such a loveable brat!

Kuruvikkaaran, of all is my favourite. Every time he says “Kuruvi saththam kekkudhu. Kuruvikku veedu illa”, my stomach churns thinking of all the trees we’ve cut down.

As for the story goes, you can guess every scene that is going to play out. You know what they will say and you know what exactly will happen. There is nothing by way of story that the director can claim new. By way of execution, the director has done some beautiful work.

All oppari scenes are cleverly done. Instead of the loud drums and weeping women, we hear a lovely song played in the background with visuals of drums and weeping women. The lyrics of the song are also highly intriguing though I don’t seem to find it on the web. The long shots and muddy huts are beautifully cinematographed. The role of that radio in the film is lovely.

The socialist in the director (or the emotion of the times) comes out in the scene where the protagonist says “Kaasu kudukkaravan ellam saami aayidaraan illa? Ivanayum nambidaadhinga. Ivanum modhalaali than” at the end of a capitalist scene where the incumbent is thrown out by competition!

In all, Vaagai Sooda Va is by no means the best film made in Tamil cinema. But it is one of the most beautiful ones made. It has its intentions intact, the execution is endearing and it leaves thoughts lingering in your mind long after the film is over. Sweet!

Mayakkam Enna – the spin story

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.

Mental (health)

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.