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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Enga Area : Subversion, subterfuge and substitution in Democratic Art

Domaru...Dapsaa...Dhommai....Kumaaru....Kokki Kumaaru !!

Hey Padicha Naaye Kitta Varathey
Enga Area Ulla Varaathey !!
Pudupettai, Kasimodu, Ennoru, Vyasarpaadi Enga Area
Anna Nagar, KK Nagar, T Nagar, Boat Club-u Unga Area

Padicha Naaye Kitta Varathey
Enga Area Ulla Varaathey !!


Vaada Poda Vella tholu
Naanga Ellam Karuppu
Beachukkilla Adip-p-potta parappu
Padikkira Ponnallam unnathaan Paakum
Enga Area ponnu maatum Ennath-thaan paakum

Thabaal Potti Trouser oola potta pasanga
Thanni Vandi Laari kitta sanda podum Ponnunga
Dhinam Dhinam Kudichittu Malaierum Perisu
Thenavetta Karavaetti Kattivarum Ravusu

Kadalila Veyilia Uppeduppom Naanga

Thayir Saadham Saapida Uppu Kekkiringa
Kaalarai pakkathile vaazharom Naanga
Paada katti pinam pona mookka pothureenga

A/C Potta Bathroomil Enna Varum Ponga
Thandavaalam Kitta Othunguvom Naanga
Nethu Vecha Meenkozhambu Kaathula Pesum
Malli Poovum Inga Pootha Meen Vaasam Veesum !!


Oru Naal povar
Oru Naal varuvar

Enga Area Ulla Varaadhe
Ulla Pugundhu kadalile odarom naanga
Thoppaikku kadalile odureenga
Kaasu panam saerthu vachu
Kanja thaanam yaenga?
Puttu kittal panaththaal enna pannuveenga?
Enga Area ulla varaadhe


I saw a video of this song recently on one of the music channels. And I thought.... subversion in art has plummetted to new depths and nadirs of application.
Subversion in art is such a beautiful tool.
The trend in democratic media such as Bolly- and Kollywood is disturbing to say the least. In the case of Bollywood the amount of skin that is left unexposed is only as itsy bitsy as the area that the water particles poured as a poor excuse for rain has left undrenched. That is to say, nothing much. Probably some of Bollywood movies are just nano-millimeters away from being termed soft-porn. Well, when item dancers and sex symbols of current times don't mind doing tease acts live on New Year and Special Party stages, you can't expect the reel to be left behind. And that is nothing to me. I don't care. But Tamil cinema, I am disturbed, has lost all subtlety.

I still am one of those firm believers that Tamil Cinema has on and off managed to interest people in a more redeeming way. But the glorification of violence and perpetration of communal hatred and clan-nification of movies is not good as a trend. Instead of those times when we would watch prototypes and stereotypes being boo-ed from a section of society or community, now we have movies that you can actually classify as regional and hence in most cases caste centric.
Critics of repute who follow and study movies and sociological, folk-lore as well as demographic and culture-study trends may say am an illiterate. But as an audience who pays to watch movies, I am entitled to my sentiments. I know it sounds ridiculous to show two flowers kissing or a bee sucking out of a flower to use as innuendos instead of braving a censor-scissoring. But that was done out of necessity in those days. So we have lost the need to define necessity and made most luxuries necessities in real life. And the reel life is but a mirror of real, say most assertive directors who want to pass the buck of blame back when pointed finger at for showing something too blatantly.
Subtlety is in underplaying to a greater effect. Openness is required only when subtlety is to be lost upon a viewer. But in a pervasively reactionary society where you run across an autorickshaw driver who is so clearly karmic enough to assert that what Rajani Kanth does in Baatcha or Kamal Haasan did in Indian or Arjun in Gentleman... is only good for entertainment, you do accept the fatal Tamil dictum "Aettu Suraikkai Kootukku Udhavaadhu" (You can't cook a pictorial representation of any gourd!). But again, if that is so, nothing is going to be achieved by showing things openly to impress upon dullard or sophisticates (on either end of the spectrum), why waste? Art is all about aesthetics.
Also, some movies tend to delight in deliberately taunting the feelings of certain sections of people when it is not really warranted. Are directors and producers becoming bigots instead of underlining the social ills in a bid to bring about social alleviation, unlike their forbears of direction and production of yesteryears? Are they trying to actually buoy the vote banks of some pretenders and contenders to the MLA and MP thrones of future who base their politics on communal grounds? And why this unnecessary vilification and conscious glorification of caste and class while the actual attempt must be to try and make films that show ways to erase these boundaries. Instead, in the name of realism and voicing of the victim's viewpoint and that unique Indian word Yadhaartha or Yadhaartham or common-place normal realistic, why offput people's sensibilities. If we keep talking and showing the hunter and the hunted swapping places, the cycle would only continue.
One such example is the song reproduced above. The song, the video as well as the movie - in the name of realism and naturalism - has an effect of overkill. Instead, what not could have been achieved through Subversion. But probably we are witnessing examples of our times where there are no niceties and the city itself has been mofussilised. Abuse of environment, Blaring horns of Share Vans, Share Autos, Yellow-number plated tourist and BPO-dedicated vans and cars that carry a verbiage that says "If such and such a vehicle is found for rash driving, call...", which has no use whatsoever! I think Chennai deserves a huge land-slide or earthquake to clean up the city such as what Hiroshima and other such places underwent. It means that you and I may have to die in the process. But the land-lubbing and -grabbing would stop. The consumerist blow-jobbing of Mammon would stop. The crowds would decrease. Pollution would abate. Rebuilding would engender a new and hopefully responsible community consciousness. This division of Us and Them, Mine and Yours, Areas and Domains, Castes and Classes would vanish. But... am not just a dreamer, rather an idealist. A few of the breed left who believes in drawing lines of contentment. An anamoly... a sore-spot in the map of materialist nouveau riche i-kill-you-before-you-kill-me-first generation. Hmmmph!

2 comments:

Srini said...

"I think Chennai deserves a huge land-slide or earthquake to clean up the city such as what Hiroshima and other such places underwent. It means that you and I may have to die in the process. But the land-lubbing and -grabbing would stop. The consumerist blow-jobbing of Mammon would stop. The crowds would decrease. Pollution would abate. Rebuilding would engender a new and hopefully responsible community consciousness. This division of Us and Them, Mine and Yours, Areas and Domains, Castes and Classes would vanish. But... am not just a dreamer, rather an idealist. A few of the breed left who believes in drawing lines of contentment. An anamoly... a sore-spot in the map of materialist nouveau riche i-kill-you-before-you-kill-me-first generation. Hmmmph!"

Dear Sir KK,

Truly said... I was having a similar conversation in my campus not even three weeks ago... And I predict a major existentialist crisis of a slightly
different sort but with much the same impact if not desiderata... I do not know if the same will come in my time! I won't mind perishing if out of the speckle of my death among others, a new society would be born!

Smarak said...

i think what matters is there isn't much obscenity...if some girl is skimpily dressed in movies that shouldn't be a problem -after all bollywood is more abt glamour than acting