“Tharamani”… A flawed, yet fascinating look at men, women and their circumstances

Posted on August 17, 2017

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Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/taramani-movie-review

Ram’s first film, Kattradhu Thamizh, was about a young man with an MA in Tamil. The director’s third film, Tharamani, is about a young man with an MA in English. But this is not to suggest a sudden leap into Gautham Menon territory. The degree is just something on a résumé, not part of the DNA. The protagonist of Tharamani, Prabhunath (Vasanth Ravi), is the protagonist of Kattradhu Thamizh who’s made his peace with a global language, though not with a global culture. He hails from a village, and says he lives not in North or South Madras (i.e. the Madras-es usually shown in the movies), but the Madras that’s developed around Tharamani, almost as though the stretch – known for its IT corridor – were a separate world.

In Ram’s eyes it is a separate world – a microcosm of a culture clash, a place where even an MA in Tamil would struggle to find the Tamil equivalents of “be cool” and “flirt,” which aren’t just alien words but alien concepts. It’s perhaps no accident that the heroine – Althea (Andrea Jeremiah, in her most committed performance to date) – is Anglo-Indian, a mix of Tamil and English. She’s half of both, and wholly neither. She fits into this world in a way Prabhunath possibly never can. In one shot, late in the film, the distance between them is literalised: he’s on the ground, gazing up at the high-rise where she resides.

The easy movie for Ram to make would have been a relationship drama around this clash, this distance between the old and new – and we do get a bit that movie. At first, Prabhunath comes off as chilled and accepting: about Althea’s personal life, he says, “Nee sollala, naan kekkala (You didn’t say anything, so I didn’t ask)”. But once they get together, he turns, almost overnight, into Prakash Raj from Kalki. (Ram is from the Balu Mahendra school, but a lot of Tharamani reminds you of K Balachander’s view of men and women.) He turns possessive, misogynistic (though perhaps he was always so, and we see it only now) – he turns into a series of paragraphs in Ram’s grand thesis.

Continued at the link above.

Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil