Sunday, April 19, 2015

OK Kanmani


Bakwaas Movie.


Today's Hindu has finally published a review of the movie from the point of view of more sensible viewers:


O Kadhal Kanmani, the latest Mani Ratnam film, is the buzzword now. The film has triggered off a discussion on relationships, live-in and marriage among the youth. The lead pair looked adorable. The visual language was fresh. But something was missing in the story that tackles a modern-day relationship. Aadhi and Tara, the lead pair in the film, decide to go against the nuptials and explore a living-together relationship. Though the theme is fresh, many youngsters feel let down with the way it has been handled by the director.

“Mani Ratnam lacks conviction about live-in relationships,” says Athul Domichen, a media professional from Calicut. According to the 25-year-old, the director has taken an easy way out. “ The lead pair who does not believe in marriage decide to get hitched when they have to split ways to pursue their ambitions.” Aadhi (played by Dulquer Salmaan) is represented as the quintessential metro man who avoids commitment. And so is Tara (Nithya Menen), who comes from a broken family. “I am not against marriage. But then it should not be used as an adhesive to keep two people together. Can’t a relationship sustain with trust and patience too?” asks Athul.

Manasa Ramakrishnan feels the commitment phobia part was overdone. She thinks the film stereotyped youth as anti-marriage. The 25-year-old school teacher from Bangalore adds that the film portrayed marriage as a tough deal. “It is not. It is about companionship. Life can be a lot more organised in marriage and fun too. The movie complicated these aspects unnecessarily. ”

Like any other Mani Ratnam film, this one too comes with classy frames and groovy music. But then, the pretty frames killed the drama and made the story look unrealistic. For instance, a supposedly shady lodge, where Tara and Aadhi spend a night together, is so tastefully designed that it almost looks like an art studio. “The sets were too glossy. The apartment looked unreal. It killed the flavour of romance for me,” says Athul.

In the film, everything is breezy for Tara and Aadhi. Chithra Dhara, a student from English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, wonders if the Indian society is as accepting about living together as picturised in the movie. “The couple hardly faces any kind of moral policing, which is the case with young lovers in the country. Except for one scene, where Tara is interrogated by Aadhi’s relative, they had it easy. It came across as a shallow rom-com .”

Deepti Sreeram, a journalist from New Delhi, believes the film showcased convenient ideas of romance. “As a generation, we are socially independent. But, when it comes to choices pertaining to our partners, we are still not free. Many couples, who live in with their partners, are plagued by financial insecurities and safety issues. They do not even have a space to get physically intimate. The film left all these issues unexplored and conveniently shut us off from reality.”

At one point in the film Aadhi leaves the city without informing Tara, and she is worried. And her friend warns her not to turn possessive and behave like a wife. Many find this aspect a twisted depiction of a live-in relationship. Sindhu Jose, a research scholar from Hyderabad, feels “Live-in might not involve marriage. But then the lovers would want to lead a life together. There is an emotional bonding. It is as complex as a marital relationship. I expected a more nuanced take on the subject from a director like Mani Ratnam.”

Also, Aadhi and Tara seem to be living in a bubble. The world around them is filled with well-wishing uncles, sweet maamis and progressive friends.

In fact, all it takes Tara to convince Aadhi’s landlord for the live-in is belt out a Carnatic music bhajan! Everything fell into place a little too easy, says Deepti. “I missed the intense, risky love portrayed in films like Raavan and Dil Se. Here, both the girl and boy belong to the same class, caste, religion, and their life has no challenges. The movie seems to be hinting that the old generation is okay with us falling in love and even living together so long as we keep these yardsticks in mind!”

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