Readers Write In #142: Thoughts on ‘Seeru’

Posted on February 9, 2020

6


(by Varsha)

Spoilers ahead

This is the season of serial killers, that too, mostly men preying on women. But then, this is also the season of women empowerment dramas. Oh, the irony! It’s almost as if male directors are of two types: some want to lift women to the limelight(spiritual), while others simply want to cut them up(materialistic)! 😉 Last year, two films of the spiritual type released, each featuring a top star in Tamilnadu, namely Nerkonda Paarvai and Bigil. Both presented stories about women in crisis, one legal/personal and the other with respect to their profession/sport. In both films, their saviours were men.

Seeru, the latest in the women empowerment saga in Tamilnadu, too, is similar in a broad sense. Again, we have women in crisis and the saviours are men. But that is where the similarity ends. In Nerkonda Paarvai, the saviour is a lawyer and in Bigil, he is a football player-turned-coach. In both stories, the said professions are directly related to the crisis the women are facing. Both men have their own personal past suffering(Pink is different in this one aspect, if I remember right) and they see a redemption for themselves in helping these women overcome their miseries. Seeru, surprisingly and pleasantly so, adds twists to this template. Here, there are two saviours, one a rowdy by profession and the other is a do-gooder whose favourite hobby is to beat bad elements to a pulp.

And therein lies the twist. In the Vijay and Ajith starrers, one can imagine a female saviour in the same profession and nothing much would change, if one were to talk just about the story and screenplay without worrying about commercial values and star vehicles. But can one imagine, with similar ease, a female rowdy? Possibly. I am not saying it is unheard of. But in Seeru, compared to the other two movies, the justification for a male saviour is much stronger because, as numerous studies on physiology have shown, men do have an edge over women on an average when it comes to brawn. The funny thing is this is in no way new to the cinema we have grown up seeing. We have seen these kind of “saviours” in countless commercial flicks, saving the heroines, sisters and what not! Even Seeru begins thus! But when this oft-repeated sequence is put in a women-centric drama, it gains a whole new meaning.

Also, the men in Seeru don’t come with long-lasting emotional burdens of their own. Right from start to finish, the plot revolves around women in crisis. It begins with two women in need of rescuing, continues with a pasamalar-style brother-sister bonding with the sister in a medical crisis getting rescued by another “brother” and ends with a bunch of talented girls getting rescued by both the saviours. The men are there strictly for their brawn alone! It is the women who recruit them to do their bidding. The whatsapp voice call at the start, the sister being adamant to see her saviour, one of the girls threatening to kill herself when confronted by Malli and the girls recruiting Malli after seeing his kind-heartedness – all these show that it is the women who are holding the reins of the plot. The girls even plot the antagonist’s murder! It’s as if they are saying: “As long as a knife is sharp, it will pierce you irrespective of the gender of the person holding it!”

Of course, the film could have been a lot better, but even as it is, it definitely has an edge over other women empowerment films that we have seen recently. I was particularly impressed by the female casting, especially the sister and each and every one of the girls. Powerful performance by this cast helps in sustaining the strong emotional undercurrent that keeps us invested in this film till the very end.