Readers Write In #430: Battle of the Sexes – A note about the misnomer, Uyire..

Posted on December 3, 2021

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(by Deepika Santhanakrishnan)

A recent YouTube video on “Love through Mani Ratnam’s Eyes” by Netflix India stirred a debate in my friends WhatsApp group. The debate is on “Desperation through Opposite Gender’s Eyes”. And it goes something like this (slightly edited, without loss of generality):

Guy: I am not asking you to watch the full three mins of the video. Just the first two bits. [First is from Dil Se, the second from OK Kanmani]. Isn’t Shah Rukh desperate in the Dil Se railway station sequence?

Me: But Manisha smiles to his desperation before asking for that holy-chai, which from a girl’s perspective is desperation, I guess.

[Slight background: We lived our teens in those years when self-kalaai was in vogue. For other generation readers, to put things in place – we tease ourselves with a love interest of the opposite gender because real love was absent, leading to the only presence called desperation. We are also known as 90’s kids].

Me, continuing: And in the OKK train scene, isn’t Nithya Menon giving outright flirtatious reactions to the otherwise normal statements of Dulquer?

Guy: No Deepi, I deny both. In Dil Se, Manisha asks for chai to outsmart him. She wants him leave and not bother her until her train arrives. Athu epdi desperation agum? Also, in OKK, let me [typing…]

Me, interrupting: But how do you say that? Based on just this clip? Or, from the movie?

Guy, leaving his earlier typed gnanodhayam: Deepi, please don’t tell me you haven’t watched Dil Se.. For Heaven ’s sake..

Me: Dei machan, na Uyire ve paakala da, Dil Se epdi paathirpen. [Happens to be a bad defense]

Guy: I am signing off. I can’t talk to ignorants.

Me: Dei, ipove paakaren..

[Post following is after watching Uyire]..

The title track has full black background, reflecting the mood of the theme. I conjecture it to be the darkness in the actions of wannabeliberationists, let alone their motives or past dark lives.

Any girl’s heart will skip a beat in the introductory railway station sequence, not for the beauty of wind and rain on Shah Rukh, but for the voice of Arvind Swamy, without whose voice the dialogues would have been unconvincing.

Fast forward, the hero works for the All India Radio. I wonder why this choice. An army personnel would equally capture the essence. But, NO. He has to narrate about the scene of his love at first sight through a medium to his love interest. And the medium is radio. Now, I prefer radio over television. For voice without video, would add more imaginary sensory imagery working.

And tada, the hero finds his heroine again. And he utters the dialogue, which is the crux of the movie.. “Enakula nee irukanu mattum theriyum, Idhayathula”..

Now, one can title a movie based on their past artistic works. “Uyire”, the name is a tribute to the song from the movie Bombay, of the Director’s past work. But, a literal translation of “Dil Se” to “Uyire”, instead of “Idhayathula”, is disappointing. She is his life, yes, but her presence is in his heart, Dear Mani sir. After all, there are two moments in the film where the hero utters this dialogue. Interesting that Manisha is the love interest of the respective heroes in both the movies.

The whole desert sequence, where Shah Rukh travels desperately with Manisha [Oh, yes, I had already agreed to the Guy from the WhatsApp group; but not completely, more on this later] is even more beautiful because of two things. First, love is beautiful in itself, but in a desert, it is altogether a different feel, and second, Manisha gets attacks of unknown nature, probably shown as a consequence of handling cyanide. The latter also instills a first-time perception in audience that she is fragile. Both physically and emotionally. The second time is when she is advised by their head on how no one amongst the separatist members should be considered kin. Oh yes, imagine how sad the souls of those leading damaged lives. And Manisha is anything but that dark soul. [Hey Guy, she did smile before asking for the holy-chai out of love; trust me, I am a girl].

The second act of the three-act structure is the introduction of Preity. “Nee virgina?”. The movie came out in 1998, but possibly in 2021 as well this would have been in the conversation in an arranged marriage setup. Bet on it, it is a dialogue in a Mani Ratnam movie, guys.

Following Preity’s introduction and when Manisha approaches Shah Rukh for a recommendation to get a job in A.I.R through his influence, using ‘his love for her’ – oh wait, they say love seeps through the souls. In the pre-climax scene, in Shah Rukh’s conversation with Preity about the whereabouts of Manisha – Shah Rukh’s intention was to stop the blasting of bombs. But Preity knew that he can’t forget his love for Manisha. But who knew he would use ‘Manisha’s love for him’ to stop the blasts?

Or maybe, I am all wrong!

“For, Lovers can Die, but their LOVE?”

And, Yes, Guy, I accept defeat!