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Film Review: Thani Oruvan (Individual) (Tamil)

October 10, 2015

Not tweeting for publicity or followers. What started as a game(!) now consumes me. I must admit Twitter opened to me many doors, to many views. Kudos to humourists, I enjoy the fun! Sarcasm and humour are lost on most Indians I see. I am scared to open my mouth back home because you do not know for what people may get offended. I am thick-skinned that way. Nothing or none can offend me and if I do manage to get offended, it’s usually for right reasons (I suppose). Still it’s better I feel if we don’t consciously wound someone.

In this regard I have something to say on Karma Retribution but I am reserving it for an other post. This is a philosophical look at what is our part in criticizing others.

There must be ways to put across our mind without having to stamp on someone’s dignity & self-respect.

Twitter makes it possible for me to wish my Prime Minister directly on his birthday! And the sweetest surprise is getting a ‘thank you!’ note (message). Even if machine-generated, it is a proof how commonman can make his/her voice heard in the highest echelons of our society which remained a Herculean task until now.

Politicians are no more inaccessible today thanks to Twitter. You can let someone, your governor or president, know a piece of your mind which is the best thing about Twitter. The flipside is you get too familiar with everyone, you lose your privacy.

In Twitter once I complained about the washrooms in Chennai airport. Within a month there was a newsreport on restroom maintenance in the international airport. Similarly, the trolleys were a trouble. Now that is also sorted out. But it remains to be seen how long our folks can keep up ‘changes.’ The concept of a dry toilet is still unimaginable to most Indians. Now this last time I found that there were finally actual staff on regular duty in our restrooms which is good. The idea of wet toilet is highly unappetizing (!) but atleast they are flushed and clean (although the stench cannot be helped ugh!). I believe Twitter could be a reason? I don’t want to take credit for anything but I would like to think, that dramatic changes happened overnight because someone somewhere in authority might have chanced upon the tweet. Domestic terminal is comparatively okay. Shortage of labour staff not only in our airport restroom maintenance but everywhere in the city/state is a serious issue we have to focus on. A chief reason could be subsidized distribution of rice and election freebies. TN gives away free 20 kg of rice per family every month plus even clothes for Diwali & Pongal. Pulses/cereals/sugar are sold in PDS for very reasonable rates. So why should the BPL families sweat for a living. When the men booze, women slog as housemaids or whatever. Tamil Nadu is one classic case how state can perpetually keep its population submerged in troubled waters of deception and ignorance.

Recently saw my first film in Middle-east, in cinemas that is a pointer in this direction: large scale corruption and nexus between vile politicians when it comes to shortchanging and misleading the public. Reminds one of the oligarchic cartels like drug mafia for instance. Because this is how educational institutions like some finest private deemed universities, star hospitals, budget airlines, television channels etc are held by a few powerful people in India.  I can add some more to the list: the chain of upscale beauty salons, popular restaurants, shopping malls, etc. One political family allegedly acquired many top-selling labels like an Atta brand, Pasteurized Milk dairy, Shikakai shampoo, Call taxi services, Radio FMs just to name a few. Why, they were even into marketing films procuring them at a loss from small producers and raking in the moolah from the golden goose. How many of us give a thought to the auction of parking spaces in our airports and railway stations that are golden mines again. In the last 10 years or so when I have become increasingly politically aware, I have been getting restless. This is infact a reason for my blog, for my advent in Twitter. At the same time, I am aware of my limitations, circumstances and position. May be somewhere someday something shall be heard of my feeble voice. If anything good happens that way, my foray into these sensitive areas will stand vindicated!

The public are not fool and probably the film is a collective reflection of what we all are aware of and have come to accept as  supplicant unquestioning citizens. Why, because we have families to think of.

The Tamil film ‘Thani Oruvan’ (an individual) is a tad too much hyped I guess but its good in that, you don’t get for a second bored through out the picture. Someone questions. The attitude is good for a change. The individual potential is underscored. May be not convincing enough but a bold attempt.

For English fiction readers (like me) or Hollywood buffs, the plot may appear old (which it is). I could virtually guess what would conspire in the next scene. It is kids play really but average Tamil movie-goer unexposed to Hollywood films or English fictions must find it gripping no doubt.

After ‘Mudhalvan’ (which was remade in Hindi with Anil Kapoor who played the CM), a Shankar’s film, and Yuva – the Mani Ratnam picture, Thani Oruvan joins the league as one more interesting political plot. It differs from Aamir Khan’s ‘Rang de Basanthi’ – the group heroic act, in that, it stresses on what an individual can achieve in his own capacity if he puts his mind to it.

The ‘bad guys’ of the picture brought to my mind therefore actual ministers holding real positions, assuming dangerous powers that can be misused for selfish gains. For each and every ‘bigwig’ in the film, I could quote an equivalent one in both Tamil Nadu and at all India level. It was scary.

Political screenplays are not new to Indian/Hindi/Tamil cinema. The run-of-the-mill stuff sometimes gets on your nerves. But I liked the Jayam Ravi (hero)’s approach and the villain (Arvind swamy)’s character. In fact the later one was well crafted. And Swamy surprised me playing to perfection the cool and savvy villain in the film. 20 years back that would’ve been a rarity. Swamy is not exactly known for his acting capabilities.

No politician is clean. I am aware You cannot become even an MLA in our country without killing someone first! I started playing this mind game on drive back home: trying to recall one political name for every scheming character in the picture … and I found that I could give more than one name for every criminal in ‘Thani Oruvan’ – and that’s the tragedy. 

The film thus was an endorsement of something we live with everyday.

Apart from that, Thani Oruvan is a comeback film for my yesteryear heartthrob Arvind Swamy, who all husbands of our gen hated fiercely once upon a time. Now they are still more jealous becoz Swamy is now (as he was primarily) a very successful industrialist and acting is only his hobby. He looks great aging and he is brainy and cool! So if you think husbands can finally relax around our Arvind, they obviously can’t!

Jayam Ravi, the hero of the picture, has done a good job. For once, he is acting his role without much of overacting. But what happened to Nayanthara. Being a woman I must not label other women, but I have a word for the way the heroine looks. ‘Awful’ is a kind word. Has the star made a ridiculous waste of her youth and body and got herself completely ruined. I wish her a better and brighter future. She must take proper care of herself.

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