Love, it is magical. The ‘Happy Birthday..’ handshake she gave you at school, the bruises he got defending you at college, her blush to your ‘Spin the bottle’ question at office retreat, his tears over your cries at maternity ward,the politics she talks eversince your retirement….
Love for some it reminds of the white gate that GVM opened in Karthick’s house, for some it reminds of the ‘Love and love only’ from Faizil’s bookstand that Mini took, for some it is just Yuvan’s song and for some it is the BGM when A.R.R. and Maniratnam get along.
So, how much does this-‘வயிற்றுக்கும் தொண்டைக்கும் உருவமில்லாதொரு
உருண்டையும்’-feel, Get down from screens and walk into our lives?
When you are getting down at a noisy railway station, smelling samosa,cheap coffee and strong whiff of paper, amidst shouting porters, busy people and stinky you ,after hours of journey, Do you search the Tara of your life? When the Breeze liberates your sweaty hair on the terrace, after you escaped your messy room without doing laundry, having no choice but to wear the only left black saree on the days of exams, Do you expect Shiva to show up and steal a sight? Let’s face it, When was the last time a chocolate boy caught up with you in running train to say “நான் உன்ன விரும்பல, உன் மேல ஆச படல, நீ அழகா இருக்கேனு நெனைக்கல ,ஆனா இதெல்லாம் நடந்துடுமோன்னு பயமா இருக்கு !”
Let me guess,never!? On a hunch let us say only an elite 20 % get to live the dreamy proposals that we all enjoy in the movies.Then, what are these movies doing to the remaining majority, by showing magic and dreams and barrels of love enough to dump you deep to the south of oceans?
It made you fall in love with Ram (3) when he tailed you with smile of innocence at school, you fell in love with Meghna (Varanam ayiram)when she left you with nothing at sidewalk, you fell in love at the small attempt of Rajesh eating Chicken only for you (Minnale),You fell in love with Shaila bhano when she came to you leaving her whole world behind (Bombay). So, Cinema gave us hope that love is for everyone. Sometimes like the killing pain that you fight to live, to see tomorrow’s date and sometimes a little piece of cake served to you on golden plate. It told us that Love exists for the unhappily married, taking all chances to annoy each other (Raja Rani),Love exists for the ones labouring 24l7 at basements of the famous towers (Angadi theru),Love exists for the ones who know where they are going (Idhayathai Thirudathe),Love exists for the ones who know they aren’t going anywhere together (96).Tamil Cinema told us that love exists for everyone, just waiting around the corner but in their own unique manner.
The century old industry has given us hope in almost all walks of life, that this world is big enough for you and me to be loved no matter how different we are. Sometimes it went to new lengths in establishing it. It is evident, that rotten tomatoes and silver linings went hand in hand for these movies.Which didn’t bother them as they were focusing on the emotional tenor that was cast on the society about love.
Vichu and Mary’s lovestory (Alaigal oivathillai-1980) did more than just sway lotuses in lake. The hypocrisy of men incharge, sincerity and innocence of the younger generation who are not, sure told the world loud that love sees no religion.Even Gods have love stories in our mythical history, If the one created us do romance, why shouldn’t we? If it is not ‘ஆயிரம் தாமரை மொட்டுக்களே’’ kind romance among gods then how will it be? Look up, find it from ones created you.If you only see two old people with responsiblities, retirements and regular routine, then remember ,Just because your parents are not 20 anymore doesn’t mean they are deprived the privilege of romance.Trust me,It exists in its own way. They are first lovers to each other before being your parent . ‘வாழ்க்கையே வாழத்தானே’ so why should anyone stop being lover after wrinkles become broader than smiles, What happens when there is no love but only wrinkles left? They said,the Fragrance of the flowers, although born with it will never return back to the flower when it dies…Or does it? Kuyil did return to Malaichaami (Mudhal mariyathai-1985) She had his life in her eyes and he had love for her in heart. Who dared to let in age or class between them when they united at death! Love had always more to it than the butterflies in stomach, the touch that melts you into nothing or the kiss that makes you forget to breathe. There is more to it than romance .No single person has understood it completely.“This is not human love, to be understood by humans. It is something far more pristine” There came movies like Guna(1991) and Chinnathambi(1991) to tell us Love was not necessarily about a ‘well paid job, sub-urban house, a wife named Sakthi’ for everyone and you need not understand it completely.With the soft Gautham in your home without any Aishwarya in past (Jillunu oru kadhal) and with Murugan — Aishwarya who actually made it to happy endings (Kadhal), you’ll know love is more than complete without understanding it. So, there again Tamil Cinema has given nothing less than hope that we all are indeed loved, despite religion,caste,age,money or gender, love belongs…. Wait..! gender?
In a legendary tab that we have kept , this industry has shown love, with its lights and shadows. But the same field has shed little light over the LGBTQ community and kept them in shadows.The past was not a knight in shining armour for echoing their stories ,however now, the portrayal of LGBTQ people on silver screens have bud up.As far as love stories go, we have so many movies that have fought the stigma and proved love is beyond stereotypes but sadly didn’t set any examples to love with pride.From their portrayal in middle of commercial songs or a little role without line as I remember it, to longer screen presence and important roles didn’t talk about love. If considering lead roles in script would be a move forward, survival of characters like Maharani from Appu(2000) to Osma Jasmine in I (2015) were not particularly giving hope about being loved.Ironically, character named Love (Irumugan-2016) being smart and pretty,took our thoughts far from love itself with speed!
For an industry that has a track record of experimental revolutionary movies ,that had focused on setting society’s moral code straight, this sensitive topic has been surprisingly in slow progress.It took a very long time for characters like that of Vaiyapuri’s in Thulladha Manamum Thullum (1999) made fun of and ridiculed, built into a character portrayed by Sarath kumar in Kanchana (2011) which brought out the difficulties faced by a lot of people in the trans community which also ended on a positive note.It was disturbing that last decade of Tamil cinema couldn’t even climb the second tier of Maslow’s heirarchy of needs with respect to LGBTQ community,to expect their love stories yet in mainstream Kollywood.However,The Rainbow has reached along with petrichor to set record in Love and romance. It is hopefully good to see movies like Narthagi (2011) written and directed by Vijayapadma, Paal (2008) directed by D Sivakumar bringing realism to the screens.
A research paper mentioned, George Gerbner’s cultivation theory as “the effects of television, continuous or heavy television watching can have long-term impacts on people and lead them to believe that the portrayal on television is the actual social reality”. Extending this to movies, it is important that the tamil cinema must become pride community’s ally to bring equitable society and further to continue giving hope that love belongs to everyone on earth.
Conclusively, we can expect hopeful pages with this stamp where Emily in Aruvi (2017) with employment and responsiblity, Shilpa embracing her son in Super deluxe (2019) and through friends who support in My son is gay (2018) that pride community gets all the love in the world, proving love is indeed magical that’s waiting for you and me, no matter who we are. Love is definitely more than just romance,handshakes, bruises,blushed smiles, pain of cries and even toothless- smiling- grey haired- companion.Love is more. Love is love.