Readers Write In #299: What about “Soorigal” when we are busy with Soorarai Pottru?

Posted on November 15, 2020


(by S. Madhumithaa)

Like the rest of the world, I watched Soorarai Potru (First Day- Middle of my Home Show). My favourite moment in the entire movie has kept me a little surprised the last two days. If a feeling stays with me for a while, I just write about it.

There is this scene where Nedumaaran (The version of Suriya that we have been missing for so long!) and Bommi (stunningly authentic Aparna Balamurali) are riding together in a bike on their way to Bommi’s bakery. Midway, he receives a call about an emergency and in his hurry to leave, he almost rides off on his bike when he suddenly realizes that he forgot all about her.

He just turns to meet her eyes. Let’s just pause the narration for a bit here.

How my mind played out the rest of the scene:

He turns to find her waiting not having moved an inch from where he left her before he received the call. She is upset with angry tears brimming from her eyes because he completely forgot all about her company in a matter of just a few minutes. How could any emergency be so great that he could forget her and the “noble” task of driving her back to wherever they were headed?

As I concluded the scene on my head, what actually followed in the movie left me absolutely stunned for the next few minutes. Going back to the narration now from where we left …

He just turns to meet her eyes. She immediately shouts out to him that she will take an auto by herself and signals him to carry on. And he leaves. End of Scene

Having spent all my life watching my mom ride her own bike and spending half of my life now riding one, I am exposed to numerous women in my life who are independent when it comes to travelling in their daily lives. When that is so, this scene should never have caught my attention in the first place. What was shown was just something that pretty much happens every day in my life and society.

But then, I realized that my overwhelming appreciation for the scene was the result of the women that get portrayed as “heroines” in the movies that I am exposed to. After all, the women that we get to see on screen are:

  • These insecure beings whose primary function is to be the centre of attraction to a man’s universe;
  • If the man turns his attention to even the most pressing/urgent of issues, she would never tolerate such irrational behavior on his part and she is absolutely incapable of understanding that the man still has some portions of life that may not always involve her as the centre of his universe;
  • Best of all, she is an immobile being who simply cannot be trusted with riding a bike / driving a car or sometimes, even with booking an auto/cab for herself. It is absolutely necessary that has to be chauffeur driven by her father/brother/lover/husband (depending on the phase of life she is in) or an actual chauffeur (depending on the economic status of her father/brother/lover/husband) to wherever she needs to go.

The result of having only watched women with some / all of the above qualifications as “heroines”, I was clapping vigorously for this scene when all that the woman here did was to assure her husband that she could physically get to her bakery on her own. Talk about high standards!

Please bear with me when I say the realization that followed this was even more disturbing. Soorarai Potru is a story depicting Deccan Founder Mr.GR Gopinath’s life. And the character Bommi in the movie is the representation of his wife Mrs. Bhargavi. The authenticity that I felt for the character on screen is simply because she was playing a real woman.

This realization has now left me wondering what it is that happens when the heroines are fictionally written. Why are they portrayed so far away from reality that the characters don’t even have a hint of the real women that we find in our lives every other day?

If you tell me I can see real women on screen only if true life stories / biographies are made into movies, then I am going to have my fingers crossed for more and more films from only this genre. I would happily bid my goodbye to fiction until people develop their creativity to fictionalize women with some basic sense and at least, a tender touch of reality.