But, when directors like Gautham Menon and Vignesh Shivan who have constantly entertained their audience with light-hearted beats, have explored the agonizing side of films, it truly shows how much the industry is expanding in terms of broadminded content.
Paava Kadhaigal is the darkest side of our society and the fatalistic side to human existance. The first film titled Thangam directed by Sudha Kongara sees Kalidas Jayaram , Shanthanu Bhagyaraj and Bhavani Sre of ka Pae Ranasingam fame in the lead. Sudha’s story touches upon acceptance, something our society rarely does. We hardly accept an individual as one is and a tragic end to that leaves us speechless and guilty. Sattaaru (Kalidas) is a trans woman who struggles everyday being oppressed by the society, by her own loved ones. All she craves for is love and affection and the constant denial for that and just her identity as it is, is tragic and leaves you incomplete and disturbed. Kalidas Jayaram is a class apart as Sattaru and has proved his mettle as an actor.
Vignesh Shivan’s Love Panna Vitrunam touches upon the society’s denial and aggression towards intercaste wedding and also upon different sexual orientations. Starring Kalki Koechlin and Anjali in the lead, the film initially shows Kalki and Anjali to be lesbians. They muster the courage to confess that to their father and what unfolds after that is the narrative. The gist of the narrative is understood but the film has several hits and misses probably being the weakest of the four stories. Although it does convey a wonderful message of love, there are several loopholes that could easily be touched upon. However, the best part about the film would have to be exploring dark humour and that is definitely something refreshing.
Gautham Menon has shown us variations of love stories in his own ways but this has been his personal best so far. Vaanmagal is a story of a young girl with dreams. But when unbearable tragedy strikes her, her conservative mother Mathi (Simran) is clueless as to how she must deal with the society as the consequences of her daughter’s tragedy. But, what unfolds as a result is simply marvellous. Simran has proved yet again that we need more actors like her in the industry choosing roles as impactful as this one. Gautham Menon’s rendition of an awry love shows the kinds of love story a director like him could capacitate.
Last but not the least and probably one of the most impactful stories of the anthology would have to be Orr Iravu starring Prakash Raj and Sai Pallavi in the lead. Directed by Vetrimaaran, the film elaborates of variations if honour killings and what extent an extremist could go upto to do something as horrendous as this. Vetrimaaran is known to captivate his audience through hard-hitting reality and he has done that once again with this short film instilling a sense of fear, pain and agony in the audiende and yet asking them to accept this reality.
Overall, each story has intricately explained in its given time, the tragedy that is our society. We may see very little of the negative side to reality but people and their ways of escapism from that tragic reality into our world is something we never see because not everyone makes it to the finish line. This anthology is by far one of the best makes in the history of Tamil film and will have an impact on its people for a very long time!
Verdict: You might want to have a strong heart to watch this.
Weightage of women: 4.5/5