It’s a pity Trisha Illana Nayanthara (TIN) has the names of actresses we like and respect. Because, if there was ever a movie that had zero respect for women, then this is it. When people point out sexist humour, the oft-cited response is ‘IT’S JUST A JOKE’. (Of course plenty of men get offended if it’s thrown back at them, especially by a woman – see comments to this video.)
Obviously, TIN felt this was its USP.
For me, TIN was not just a movie. It was an experience of sitting through hatred. Right from entering the theatre, where my friend and I were the only women in the balcony seats. Shocked stares from the men surrounding us. Girls at an ‘A’ film, you see. Films where women and children should stay away. It’s your fault if you don’t.
Because ‘respecting women’ is one of those tedious things you have to do when the teacher is in the room.
The crowd cheers, whistles, and claps for every single misogynistic dialogue belted out by the actors. Shouts of ‘Moodu di‘ (Shut up, girl) when the female lead says something that doesn’t pander to their ego (‘I hate seeing you. It irritates me’). Oh, so it’s not just about a joke. The presence of women in the audience, however few, is a little startling, a little confusing. I hear a guy tell his friend “Macha paaren ponnunga laam vandhurukanga indha padathuku” (Dude, look even girls have come for this film.) Surprise.
TIN was proudly touted as an adult comedy. It promised a plentiful dose for the (male) spectator. It was an attempt at making Tamil Nadu’s very own American Pie. It’s the story of an overly hormonal Jeeva (GV Prakash) and his attempts at finding ‘love’ with Ramya and Aditi (Anandhi and Manisha Yadhav).
The dialogues are a little paranoid. Okay, a lot. It’s like the hormonal teenaged boy who never grew up.
Never had a real conversation with a woman. Doesn’t know how to. Doesn’t know that he doesn’t know.
Here’s a sample:
“Ponnungala mattum nambave nambadha” (Never ever trust girls)
“Pasangaluku ponnungalaala evlo prechana” (So many problems men face, due to women)
To this song where a frustrated GV Prakash dances after a breakup, which has lyrics like: Puttukinnu “Poyitiyae Paathiyila
Nee Paduthukkuva Vaanthi Baethiyila” (You left me now, later you will fall sick with vomit and diarrhoea)
TIN differentiates between a ‘Nalla Ponnu’ and a ‘Ketta Ponnu’. The Nalla Ponnu buys you a drink. The Ketta Ponnu drinks. GV Prakash asks, “Purushan kudicha pondati dhan kudikadheenga nu advice pannanum, purushan, pondati rendu perum kudicha, kudumbam epdi urupadum” (If the husband drinks, it’s the wife who must advise him to not drink. How will the family do well when even the wife drinks?). Then turns to a 40-something woman at the pub and says, “Ye aunty! Unaku la kudumba poruppe illaya? Inga aadikutu iruka?” (Hey Aunty, don’t you have family responsibilities? Look at you dancing here!)
The sanctimonious Jeeva is frustrated that his girlfriend drinks. Without his advice, what would women do? Look, he says, there’s no problem if a guy drinks and passes out on the road. Only his wallet would be missing. But ‘much more’ would be missing if a girl does the same thing. You can tell that if he was ever in a situation where a girl happened to have passed out in a public place, the best response from him would be to start blaming her asap. Not, oh this could have happened to me. Not, nobody plans these things.
Jeeva of course drinks. A lot. He even moves to Kumbakonam just to while away his time drinking at his uncle’s bar.
Ah, and then the whole hullaboo about ‘virginity’ in the film. Guy convinces girl. (Yes, ‘convinces’ – love isn’t a freely chosen relationship between two equal parties, of course.) Audience believes that he feels true love. Guy finds out that she has had sex with her ex-boyfriend. (We really hope it was good, because right now we’re feeling not great about her future prospects.)
He leaves her, because, “Hell with true love, I want a ‘virgin’ girl he says.”
(We mentally cheer.)
So much can be said about the idea of virginity, but let me just stop with one little analogy. What kind of tennis enthusiast would want to play against – and only play against – someone who has never picked up a tennis racket? (Answer: A really insecure one.)
The filmmakers will probably say that the theme and dialogues are a reflection of how the youth of today are. Wrong. No one is born sexist, racist, or with any kind of mass hatred towards a specific group of people. Children and often cruel and thoughtless, but that’s what good parenting is there to curb.
And nor is this a problem with adult comedy. In 2015, there are dozens of movies which are erotic, fantastic, funny, and liberating. Margarita With A Straw is just one example. And yes, women do watch them.
What’s good about the film? GV Prakash shows improvement in his acting abilities, with a wider range of expressions and dancing skills compared to his performance in Darling. Anandhi does her part well, for once, in a role different from the naïve and innocent. Manisha Yadhav is restricted to making provocative gestures in skimpy clothing, so we’re not counting that. VTV Ganesh repeats some mildly amusing corny lines like “Naai na Bow, Manushan na Love” with his trademark voice. And the plethora of Vijay-Ajith references put both Vaalu and Yatchan to shame, and give the audience one more thing to cheer about.
TIN, an extended, graphic version of Kollywood’s ‘Love-Failure’ songs, revolving around girl-bashing, got a standing ovation from most of the guys at the theatre. There may not be a war against women, but there sure is a lot of hatred.
The Trisha Illana Nayanthara Review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.