Ostracized solitude (in Tamil movies)


This podcast is a general commentary on how solitude/family life etc., have been dealt with in Tamil movies over the years. It threads itself loosely around the movie Pirivom Sandhippom's theme, but it's not a review of the movie. (Download mp3.)

Apology: I realized that I had used the filler "vandhuttu" excessively throughout the podcast. Excuse me for that.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good podcast. You have'nt used the filler "vandhuttu" as you have mentioned that frequently. I have'nt seen this movie yet. Cheran never impressed me as a director and as an actor, he could be the worst choice. He has spoiled on the sequences where others could have done well. Best example the expression that he makes when he gives a B'day present to his lover in Kerala in the movie Autograph. He makes that peculiar expression (i hope u can get me) that i dont understand if he is crying or smiling and in "Thavamai" as well when he touches the fingers of his lover he does that. In any case both the movies are'nt worth the hype that they have been given. Again, good effort by you. Eagerly awaiting trailer of "Robot" and your reactions.

Suresh said...

Thanks.

Cheran wasn't as irritating in this movies. Probably because there were other things to irritate me. :p

I think Robot is going to take another 6-10 months before they come with anything close to a trailer. But I can bet this movie is going to be a massive flop. This going to be a Pandian or a Baba or become a "milestone" of a new stature.

Anonymous said...

//thamizh padangalukke urithaana long advice
while I agree that lots of tamil movies are blatantly guilty of this, one has to give the benefit of doubt to this movie, because it is neither too long, nor did this have sentimental or illogical nonsense in the explanation, and was quite apt to the context too, unlike the ones in movies like unnai ninaithu or vikraman movies or vijayaganth movies. The point is, even though the movie did have an explanation of the theme by Jayaram, it was succint and apt and not too simplistic. So, I dont see this as a negative factor for the movie

//endha vidhamaana pudhumayum kedayaadhu idhu varaikum (till first half)
true.. nothing till then that is extra ordinary.. But , it was no-nonsense. which in itself is extraordinarily rare these days in tamil movies.. in the age of vijays and ajiths and perarasus and dhanushes and simbus.. this was mostly a no nonsense first half - without much insult to ones intelligence, right?

//ivulukku eppdiellaam bore adikudhunnu solli nammala bore adikaraanga oru oru mani nerathukku..
Infact this is why I liked the movie even better. In my opinion, to really convey the extent and the nature of her boredom and to give the audience a feel of her daily life, I really think the screenplay demanded the length. If this would have been conveyed in 3 or 4 minutes, it would have really lost the impact.

and how did you just overlook the part where it shows her trying to record the sounds around her to fight the boredom. That was a novel attempt in tamil cinema I guess.. that normal people can or will resort to doing insane things when lifestyle drives them to extremes. that I felt was brilliantly portrayed.

//and aarambathuliye ivulukku mana noi irundhadhunaala thaan iva ipdi aayita -
I saw that part again. I dont think it is conveyed that way. Jayaram only says she has mild mental disorder now and if she is going to continue with the same lifestyle, she is going to become mad (paithiyam pidichurum). It does not say she always had a slight mental disorder.It says she got mad because of this lifestyle and will get worse if the same lifestyle or loneliness continues.

-and again... I think this movie is in the next stage. When joint family is the norm, a movie that praises the joint family system is redundant/conformist. But when individualism and privacy etc etc is what is considered fashionable (now a days) , a movie that argues about family system is a rebel. I think I have been in both extremes (to a certain extent) ..height of joint family/(total lack of privacy) and height of loneliness and I feel/know (atleast for me) that height of loneliness is no better than lack of privacy. infact I would say its worse.

- and did you watch this movie in bad quality vcd . just a suggestion, sometimes, that also has an impact.

//thanimai naraya peraala virumbapaduthu kandippa
True - very true.. but being alone is no heaven either. both sides has its own advantages and disadvantages. and there is no one size fits all either.

//depression thappa? suicide thappa?
dude, we have to draw a line somewhere... a Vijay fan can come and ask me 'sivagasi enakku pudichurukku - adhu thappa? I am a fan of perarasu - adhu thappa? etc..well, I understand that depression is not bad from a nihilistic point of view, but is bad from all other points of view. just like how being a fan of perarasu is wrong only from a logical sanity point of view and is perfectly fine from all other points of views :)) anyway..

thanks for doing the podcast.. good one
-Padmanabhan

Anonymous said...

watch the video review of this movie in kumudam . com . it was good.

and btw.. I am so impressed with this movie that I can be really biased now..but I feel this is really a good/class movie and in your review, ellaa padathayum (deservedly) kutti kutii, pazhakka doshathula indha padathu melayum oru kuttu vechuteengalonnnu oru doubt :))
-Padmanabhan

Suresh said...

Padmanabhan,

I don't really sit through Vijay or Ajith movies, so I cannot use those as a benchmark. A food critic cannot be thinking about crappy food he had in McDonalds or the time he was stranded in an island, hungry for days, to judge the food served in a gourmet restaurant. Criticism emerges from its own league of movies: the league that it hints to be a part of.

I don't agree with this view, "it was a no nonsense movie" etc at all. I don't think it's a big virtue - it was no better than a few episodes of 'Gopuram' TV serial that I have had the misfortune to witness. It was too artificial, start to end, orienting around clichéd exchanges to reinforce questionable family morals.

About how boredom is shown in the movie:
This is the blogpost that I had mentioned in the podcast. Loori (the blogger) has put it quite clearly.

{{and how did you just overlook the part where it shows her trying to record the sounds around her to fight the boredom. }} - are you serious? It could not have gotten any more clichéd than that. That's her effort to fight her boredom? Recording sounds that she gets to hear recurrently, anyway? Had she been a retard, I would have found those scenes mildly, very mildy, cute. This is plain irritating.

{{But when individualism and privacy etc etc is what is considered fashionable (now a days) , a movie that argues about family system is a rebel.}} - This is a pseudo-rebel. You can argue this way about Rajini movies too. "In a time period where feminism and gender equality etc are considered fashionable, a movie (say Padayappa) that argues that women should be a certain way is a rebel."

Let's see what other reason makes this movie a "rebel". Is this the 180th movies that bats for family life against 5 or 6 movies that don't? True "rebel" indeed.

I think this is one of the few podcasts in which I've said things very clearly. But I'm actually not surprised that you've still managed to miss out/misunderstand what I've said or my main argument. I don't want to make a redundant argument here (not anymore than I already have).
Try listening to these parts again:
18'23" - "adhanaala anga pola" I draw the line right there, at least for this podcast.
21'45" - 22'25" - My main criticism about how this kind of movies.

Actually, if you have the time listen to the whole podcast again. It's full of qualifications, disclaimers and segues you seem to have missed. (But I guess you might want to say the same thing about my watching the movie).

I'll be honest. This movie seems to have struck a chord with you and you do seem to be biased. To the extent that your arguments are slightly irritating. Now, of course, it also means that the opposite can be said about me. Nothing personal, though. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

well, what can I say.. I totally disagree with your perception of this movie.. I feel you really missed it this time..that aside, am still a big fan of all your podcasts, except this one :))

cheers,
Padmanabhan

Anonymous said...

I mean, yeah lots of tamil movies did have some boring monologue at the end, but if someone is going to hold Kamal's explanation to his dad in varumayin Niram Sivappu or the one in vaaname ellai and blaming those movies for that just means he missed the big picture right. I feel this movie had enough good ingredients that shadowed these minor factors here and there..

Suresh said...

haha, your last comment is pretty ironic.

I didn't stress too much on the monologue anyway. It was just a funny remark than a critical analysis. I think you've harped on it too much and lost of focus of my main argument.

I had stressed two things in the podcast. One, I was not "reviewing" this movie. Two, I used this movie only as example to talk about how the idea of solitude is represented in Tamil movies (and how it is regressive to show graduate women being coy and enthusiastic about chopping vegetables and handing towels to their husbands).

Just replace this woman with a slave. A slave who is freed. But the free slave doesn't know what to do with this freedom. He wanders around experiencing new hardships in his life, so much that he starts yearning for those "good old days" with his slave master. After a lot of struggle and moments of absolute depression, he manages to rejoin with his slave master and the kids who rode his back every day. Just throw in some emotional scenes and gut wrenching music. The slave's "reunion" with the slave master would be a classic scene. Wouldn't it? (Of course, it's just an analogy. I don't necessarily consider family life and enslavement as the same thing. But I hope you get my point.)

When a movie maker completely ignores the socio-political positioning of a woman -- as a member of an oppressed gender -- and goes on to suggest her place is in the family, "putting her nephews and nieces to sleep" every evening, it cannot get any regressive than that. It cannot be ignored as "just another character that has every chance to exist in real life". Just throwing in some contrivances like "veetukku veliya dhan naan manager" does not vindicate the flawed characterization of the lead woman.

Our perception of freedom and enslavement are debatable, indeed. And that was my point too (listen between 21'45" - 22'25" if you haven't before). Anyway, I say it again. This podcast wasn't just about this movie. Actually this movie occupies minor part of it. But your criticisms/disagreements with my podcast seem to surround that minor part. So regardless of whether "I got it wrong" or not, it's still negligible (as far as I'm concerned). Because, that was not the point.

On a lighter note:
Whatever happened to your claim -- "may be I am biased" -- in your initial comment? Would you like to assume that position again or would you like to stick to the accusation that I got it all wrong?

Isn't it funny? First we give a defensive disclaimer. When someone completely sees us through that, we get on the offence.

Padmanabhan said...

//But your criticisms/disagreements with my podcast seem to surround that minor part.

True..I didnt mean to pick on that one alone, but just that I didnt have any disagreement with other parts of the podcast, save few minor ones here and there.

//her place is in the family, "putting her nephews and nieces to sleep" every evening, it cannot get any regressive than that

The movie does not say that. It only says, loneliness can be bad in the long run for typical housewives. nothing more nothing less.

//Whatever happened to your claim -- "may be I am biased" --
True, may be I am biased, but I am not going to assume I am. Its, neutral until proven biased, if at all so called neutrality really exists.lol

Subhash said...

Suresh,

Solitude is heaven. I can't imagine myself sitting through crap which suggests that it may not be. I took a vow not to watch Tamil movies that have serious messages. Mostly they are stupid. I wonder how a woman sitting alone in home will get bored. Isn't there anything she can do?

Why do you even watch these kind of movies? Are you so bored? send me an email and we'll play chess online when you are bored. Or even cricket. stickcricket is cool. It lets you play with your friends.

murthy said...

excellent podcast suresh. very articulate. your Tamil, other than some fillers, was simply great to listen to. couldn't agree with you more on how independent women are shown in movies.
I saw this movie sometime ago too, first half was typical family nonsense, second half was wannabe artsy nonsense.

"It only says, loneliness can be bad in the long run for typical housewives."

who is a "typical house wife"? are they manufactured in factories and shipped in glossy boxes? do they come in multiple colors? what else is bad for them? do they give an instruction manual to operate them?

Anonymous said...

//who is a "typical house wife"?
wife who does not work and is typical is called as a typical house wife.

// are they manufactured in factories and shipped in glossy boxes?
The are manufactured in SC fab plants and are shipped along with the device.
// do they come in multiple colors?
Yes, black, white and parrot green.
// what else is bad for them?
this should be addressed to the QA dept or customer service.
// do they give an instruction manual to operate them?
Yes, they do. but they are available only in greek and latin.

SP said...

why cant u make movie of ur taste......... i am waiting for that...

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