Two smashing women and a dashing cop
The writer muses about three recent releases, spread across genres and languages, which particularly impressed her
A good film is like a good meal. It leaves you with happiness that goes beyond a sated palate. The last two weeks saw me hop in and hop out of three movie halls. The first two films I caught - Secret Superstar and Tumhari Sulu - left me both with a smile and in tears. Women’s empowerment is not just Deepika Padukone (and people like us who support her) standing up to the Padmavati ban. It is also in Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao's decision to produce a niche film like Secret Superstar because it brings to light the importance of freedom for a girl child. The film is no sermon and there’s much mass appeal in the emotional scenes.
The empowered woman of India is also the brilliantly-portrayed Sulochana in Suresh Triveni’s Tumhari Sulu, which took me back to my RJ days and also took me closer to the quintessential housewife aka homemaker, the heartbeat of Indian households. Vidya Balan reminds me of our great Savithri, in the ease with which she carries herself on screen and the way she is uninhibited in front of the camera, while fully giving herself to the role and becoming the character she portrays.
Triveni’s Sulu also made me ponder about the women in my life, beginning from my mother whose innate talent for art, singing and handicraft got tucked away under reams of household chores. I looked around the theatre that day and noticed that almost all seats were occupied by middle-aged women, who laughed and cried with Sulu. They related to her when she stands in front of a mirror holding a handbag after her air-hostess neighbours politely refuse her offer of friendship. Sulu becomes a working woman for a second, the handbag being a symbol of independence. “Mein kar sakthi hoon”, (I can do it) is not just Sulu’s line, but also the deep-rooted belief of every woman in India today, who is hungry for opportunities to further their lives. As a film, Sulu goes above English Vinglish in bridging the thin line between the story of one woman, and that of countless women in our country. The sharp writing and direction highlight the edginess shown in the depiction of a housewife hosting a late night show in which she talks to random men on radio -- and yet, manages to bring in a ‘feel good factor’ to her job. Sulu also reminded me of Cinderella finding her glass slippers and consequently, her happiness. How I wish we had female actors in Tamil to play roles like Sulu!
The third film I caught is the story of the first chapter (Adhigaram Ondru) of the brave cop, Theeran. This well-assembled true story has Karthi and stunt-director Dhilip Subbarayan standing tall. The action sequences are lovely, if such an adjective can be used to describe action! I wished I knew how to whistle every time Theeran puts one over the gang of thugs. The whistle is also for director Vinoth, his cast and crew, and producer SR Prabhu, who has consistently showed a keen eye for selecting scripts and putting together teams that bring out well-made films. There's nothing more satisfying for a producer than a film that beyond earning immediate returns, also turns out to be beneficial in the long run.