The only movie review you’ll find on this blog

I don’t write movie reviews, even when I have nothing else to write. Earlier, this was because of a tendency to like most movies in a lukewarm fashion, and not be critical enough, which hardly makes for interesting reviews. Of late, as a result of reading too much of the The Vigil Idiot, I’ve begun to sneer spontaneously as I enter a movie theater, which also is not the right attitude.

But this review I feel compelled to write, because cribbing about it hasn’t been enough. At home with the flu last week, I binge-watched Visu’s ‘socially progressive’ movies of the 1980s. I remember loving these movies when I was growing up, for the snappy, well-placed dialogues. The re-watching left me appalled at the treatment of women in these movies! Our society and our movies have really come a loong loong way since the 1980s! Amongst my peeves..

1. The assumption that marriage is the only honorable career-path for a woman. In one of these movies, there’s this chap with a list of conditions that he wants any prospective bride to fulfill. Enter a marriage-broker, on a mission to marry off as many girls as possible, as a penance for having rejected a girl in his youth. Inspired by him, all and sundry conspire in marrying the hapless groom to a girl who does not meet even one of his conditions ( the girl is chosen by the marriage-broker by picking up a horoscope at random). And the marriage-broker/old-wise-man-of-the-movie maintains until the end that he was right in doing so because the girl was languishing in her unmarried state, and needed a husband at the earliest.

2. The daughters-in-law in these movies are of two different cookie-cutter moulds – One is all pureness and giant golden halo, with a never-dying tolerance for getting slapped. The other is the ‘bad woman’ – wears ‘modern’ clothes, is free-spirited , and gasp! expects a man who treats her reasonably and with respect.

3. One of his movies talks about the impact of working women on the family environment and finances. It takes you through the pros and cons by contrasting two families ( one where the wife is at home, and one with a working wife) and their highs and tribulations. The movie ends with this disturbing moral – ” It is ok to ALLOW your wife to work if you really need the money for sustenance, but it is not ok to SEND your wife to work just because you want a more luxurious life” ( that sounded less clunky in Tamil) Gah!!

4. A father beats his daughter to the ground, on the merest suspicion that she has been ‘associating’ with boys. In fact, there’s not one movie amongst these where the daughter/wife doesn’t get manhandled at one point or the other. What gives, I say!!

(Childhood-me, I’m tempted to despise your taste. Your memories even led me to recommend these movies to other people, including an already-cynical-about-tam-movies husband. But I guess you just didn’t know any better.)

Never again a Visu movie!

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