The One who never gets over their ex is a common trope in Tamil cinema and we all end up rooting for them. The Circumstances always involves an arranged marriage scenario which leaves us pitiful for them. We are so forgiving for the protagonist that we fail to consider the feelings of the actual pitiful being stuck int his unhealthy relationship – The Husband.
Let’s Consider the Earliest of such examples – Nenjathai Killadhae directed by Mr. Mahendran. We see Mala who is unable to get over her ex Ram and is causing misery to her husband Pratap in due course. This movie actually deals with this scenario sensibly I believe unlike its relatively celebrated successors of the same trope.
Mala’s behavior is not justified or glorified. It rather throws light on issues when one doesn’t make peace with their past and receives the closure. Every character is shaped to react by their own ethics and is portrayed very naturally. It’s rather a tale we can easily come across in reality.
Mouna Raagam – The OG of this trope deals with divya and her inability to be to deal with her grief. Divya here might have been forced into this marriage to begin with but that doesn’t automatically make her actions acceptable.
I’m not talking about the ‘Kamblipuchi’ scene, I feel that scene fleshes out her character more and it adds depth to the grayness to the same. What I’d like to point out here is When she says ‘Naa avlo solliyum neenga yen enna kalyanam pannikiteenga’. All that she does is set a very low standard for her marketability during their matchmaking session. She sounds like any girl who would be confused about the bizarre matchmaking session and not like one who isn’t over their past relationship.
In one of his interviews director Mani Ratnam did mention that the story was thoroughly about a girl ‘divya’ who is forced into the arranged marriage system. (not someone who had a past relationship) I feel the movie would have aged really well if it remained so and not gone to the widely acceptable route of justifying her actions.
The late 1980’s Tamil audience might have not been ready for the strong female protagonist that we would shower praises on today. The Arranged marriage was such a common practice that the initial story might not have fared very well like the one we’ve got.
Every time I watch this movie I consider them as two separate ones and I love them both beyond explanation.
While detailing the same concept I’d like to bring up Sufiyum Sujathayum again. This recent flick actually wasn’t an ode to that trope, similar to Nenjathai killadhae the female lead – Sujatha was criticised for her lack of compassion. But I do feel certain scenes were looming those lines of the hopeless love triangle. ‘Why is it acceptable that Rajeev, Pratap or Chandra Kumar are expected to wait around’
Yea, In the end its always a run to the railway station or the airport that brings them together But does that mean it will be a healthy one afterwards?
I’m not questioning the makers of these films instead I’m questioning the viewer’s lack of resilience to accept realistic situations.
Poove unakaga had dealt with a similar situation where the solution made sense to me. Though it was meant to be a tragic ending (which I don’t agree for the same reason mentioned earlier) It was a natural one. Raja isn’t over his feelings for Nandini needs to embark in a journey of self love. Whereas the audience would rather want an ending where people end up some one and live happily ever after. We all need time to heal and move on. Though the alternative was a suggestion I’d say the direction the movie took was a healthy one.