The other day I had been to see a Mallu movie, Arabiyum, Ottakavum, P Madhavan Nairum (The Arab, the Camel and P Madhavan Nair). It was the usual Priyadarshan fare: a few misunderstandings, some impersonations, and resultant hilarity. The story goes along the following lines *Spoiler alert*
Guy meets gal, love happens and triumphs against some really tough odds. Guy and gal romance and end up getting engaged at a fabulous party. All hunky-dory so far, right? On a day that they are to go for an evening out, the guy has an unexpected meeting to attend. Guy calls gal, tells her about the meeting. Gal says, okay fine, she has some work too anyways, see him tomorrow. Guy’s secretary walks in a few minutes later and announces that the meeting is cancelled. Guy (with a poor memory, the gal had told him she would be busy) decides best thing would be to give gal a surprise. Guy reaches gal’s house, but unlike normal people, does not ring door bell. Oh alright, guy wants to give gal a surprise, I did get that. Anyways, guy pushes door open and softly calls her name. No answer from gal. Guy wonders what gal is up to. He hears some noise coming from upstairs. Unlike a straightforward guy, he does not call out, “Hey are you up there?”Like a stealthy robber guy tiptoes upstairs and like a deplorable Peeping Tom unabashedly peeps into the bedroom of the gal to find his fiancée walk out of the bathroom in her bathrobe and into the arms of a man whose back is turned to him and so remains a mysterious stranger. Guy now suitably shocked and shaken, goes back down the stairs in a trance, finds his boss’ coat staring at him from a chair, puts two and two together, gets an answer that is closer to hundred and stunned walks out with murder in his heart.
From here on the story wanders on to a convoluted path of kidnap, ransom, tough bad people, poor good people, conniving family members, weddings, dance, impersonations, mistaken identities and resultant mindless hilarity that has you laughing in spite of it not making any sense (to you, that is) at all, that you tend to forget that little misunderstanding at the beginning that had set the ball rolling in the first place. So you feel rather disconcerted and disoriented when you find the guy back at the gal’s door with only few more reels of the movie left to go, with the sole intention it seems of calling the girl a few choice epithets, totally uncomplimentary to her.
This time for a change, guy rings doorbell. Gal duly opens door. Where have you been? I was so worried! There’s not a place I haven’t looked for you, says the distraught gal. The guy is not buying any of it. He goes into his drunken spiel of what a cheat she is, nothing but a slut yada, yada, yada. By now everyone in the audience except the guy has guessed that there ought to be some other more plausible explanation (which I whispered in the L & M’s ear long before this scene ever happened on screen). The guy is a gone case by now. He does not even seem to remember the odds against which their love had triumphed. He is stuck in the ‘I saw you in someone else’s arms, you slut’ groove. The gal all surprised and disappointed says, I don’t know the first thing about what you are going on about. What has happened to you? About then, hearing all the commotion, down the stairs, the same stairs the guy had climbed up some days back, comes a young man. He stops half-way and asks what the matter is. And who is this, the guy asks pointing to the new entrant. Oh so you have more than one in your kitty, he says slyly. You are not content with having just my boss.
The gal is shocked and disgusted at the insinuations. The new guy stares disbelievingly. Right then, through another door, as if like a rabbit from a conjurer’s hat , out walks a someone else who is an exact replica of the gal. The guy spouts some more nonsense much to the exasperation of the crowd of watchers before finally noticing that there are two of them gals of his, and no, it had nothing to do with his drunken state either. The second entrant now wants to know who this uncouth man is polluting their drawing room with his vile words (and thoughts). He is Fiancé-No-More, introduces the hapless gal to her twin. And this is my twin, she tells the dazed guy through gritted teeth, the surprise I had been hinting on earlier. And, how could you say all those things to me! Boohoo. She runs up the stairs saying it is all over between them. About time, say I.
The guy now looks as if a train has just hit him in the small of his back, which sobers him enough to climb the stairs following his fiancée who has just left the room in tears. Looking suitably penitent he apologises to her. All well, right? Nope. That’s when I got pissed off. Imagine the situation for yourself. Here is the guy who has behaved in the most atrocious manner albeit in grief brought on by misunderstanding. I concede that. How would you feel in his place, if you had found you had made a blooper of gargantuan proportions against the one you love and who loves you? You’d be utterly, thoroughly devastated, right? You’d probably want to fall at their feet and ask forgiveness, curse yourself for jumping to wrong conclusions, not that the existence of a twin is something that comes to the average person’s mind, only in movies does that happen so frequently. But that’s not the point. One would feel so ashamed of oneself for all the scene created and extremely distressed that one distrusted the love of one’s life to the extent one did. You’d cringe for having called her obnoxious names. You would feel like the lowliest of worms the way you treated your blameless love.
Nothing of the sort happens here. Films you say, anything goes in them. How true. But you will see why I don’t stop with saying that. Don’t you think if it was just a filmi thing I would have been the first one to drop the whole thing like a bad egg and walk away? Once the matter-of-fact apology is done with in a perfunctory manner, the guy has the gall to say, “But you can’t really blame me. Anyone would have behaved the way I did right then” CAN YOU BLEDDY BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE?! He bleddy says, but you can’t really blame me. (Who else do you blame for the way you jump to conclusions and not behaving like an adult when under stress?) Even in that moment when any normal right thinking person would have been aghast at what he had done, the bleddy idiot thinks of HIS damn self. How bad is that? I think it is pretty bad. He wants to clear HIS conscience and damn if his fiancee has hurt feelings.
Why would a film want its hero to mouth such defensive statements? The answer is simple. That is how it is in real life, in fact worse. How many times have we come across such people in real life? If you ask me I’d say, P-L-E-N-T-Y. And I will not hesitate in saying they have almost ALWAYS have been men. They make the gravest of mistakes or accusations and the minute they get an inkling that they are in the wrong, they try to end the matter with a perfunctory ‘I am so sorry’ if at all they can bring themselves to say it. If in your misery you say, “But how could you have thought that? Didn’t it happen this (or that) way?” they do not show the sensitivity to give a hearing (or vindication) to your feelings. The Lords have decided that they are sorry for what they have done and as the menials, be happy that they apologised and move on with life, cheerfully if you please, and that’s an order. Isn’t that how it is? If you say another word, the next thing you will hear is, “Sorry bola na!” (I told you I am sorry) Oh yeah and your grief is supposed to switch itself off the minute you hear that. And if you aren’t too careful the next thing you hear will be, “You said this or you did that and that is the reason I thought so and had to shout at you.” Oh yes, so I HAD to shout at you like some spoilt child. Don’t miss the HAD in the sentence. You made me do it, I had no other choice. I see this happening time and again. The wrongdoer takes on the upper-hand and puts the wronged one in the dock.
What about the gal in the movie? She accepts his explanations meekly (like a woman is supposed to in real life) and coyly tells him that had been her twin sister and brother in law that he had chanced upon in her room. She also explains how the coat (the boss had fallen into the swimming pool on the day of the party and had left it there) had come back from the cleaners that day and she had just left it on the chair. Made me nauseous listening to the whole thing. This is exactly how women behave in real life. It was like she was accepting responsibility for the whole fiasco so that the guy, her hero could continue feeling guilt-free and macho. I can bet my bottom dollar that in real life, the man would have shouted at the woman, “Why did you leave the coat there? What else was I supposed to think when I saw that f***ing thing on the chair? Blah blah blah…” and the woman would be standing meekly accepting responsibility or sometimes shouting back too, but still taking the responsibility for his actions.
Why do you think man feels obliged to push blame on to the woman in his life and clear his own heart of any feelings of guilt? Why does he not accept his mistakes as his own, his responsibility? Why must he want women to take the responsibility of his feelings, leaving him free, an innocent bystander sucked in by the actions of others? I don’t know about other women. But to me a macho man is who can be himself with me, someone who may succumb to negative emotions, but is equally able to own up to those lapses, who is able to show remorse rather than turning tables and putting the onus of his feelings on me. Macho are men who at the first sign of conflict do not turn tail and run; macho are those who do not churlishly end up saying, “You made me do it,” but simply say with conviction, “I am sorry, I should not have behaved that way.” Why, I don’t even need the macho tag, they can just simply be human, that is all one needs.
This post is included in the Women’s Web Pick of the Week
yeah Men are bad …
I will blog on that 😉
Ok will check 🙂
Usha Pisharody said:
I’d like to join you in the rant. Almost always even though they have not done anything to cause all that grief, it is the women who are made to feel they are responsible. Sigh. And Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!
If you get an apology be satisfied. Do not ask for more than that. Could be I know the wrong sort of persons? I wonder about that too, sometimes.
I feel so strongly with this post, Shail, I cannot even begin to tell you how much!
Usha Pisharody said:
Awww… STC 😦 I was working out my angst 😀
“Athinithra parayaan entho irikkunnu?” Don’t we hear a lot of that? I swear, if they trip and fall they will say its the woman’s fault. It is a real mystery to me why men are considered superior when they cannot even own up to their faults without somehow putting it all on the woman’s head!
😀 Another reason why i love being Single 😀
The dog idea gets better and better.
Most people dont admit it but this happens both ways, usually by the person who wears the pants in the house. I have seen meek husbands who dont even demand an apology and too many women to count change from rebellious, adventurous, spirited souls to the media created image of an ideal bahu bowing their head in submission after marriage.
Shail, after all the venting go hug Luci, and rest remembering that times are changing ( For eg: “Ek Main aur Ek Tu” ) As for me, I stay content till I can that this is yet not happening to me.
Believe me, keep a dog! 😉
This does not have to be within a marriage, like Ruchira says in her comment. 🙂 It is not a question of demanding an apology. Not at all. It is the attitude of turning an apology very skillfully into a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) blaming of another and absolving all responsibility. Yep, some women too do that, but mostly to other women.
Ahh you stay content as long as you can. 😉
@ shail n usha…
fellow mallu joining the rant….. i have stopped watching mallu movies for the sexist content in them is more than what i can tolerate. But sadly I think it is just a reflection of the society we live in… avan aan kuttiyalle is the excuse we give to all the shitty things a guy does… and the gal is just supposed to be meek. Oru penkochinu ahankaaram paadilla. Aanungal irikunedathu varauthu etc etc.Sadly even the ladies r conditioned to believe this logic too. Just returned back from a trip to trivandrum and still seething with resentment with all the idiocies i had to listen.
@Indu. I agree it IS a reflection of the society we live in. You were on a visit, I LIVE here 😦 Hearing idiocies are part of everyday life. I wonder I am still sane. 🙄
I can so understand this… i spent 22 years of my life there… the last 5 of which the only thing i heard is what i cant do since i am a girl. “Well meaning” people actually told my parents not to sent me to a prestigious B School in the country because “penkochu kai vittu pokum”. Well now i just choose to visit tvm not settle there cos i dont think i can go thru the whole rigmarole of how every one and their uncle have a say on what u wear, praising about the greatness of our culture when u fix a dowry of 1 kilo gold and 50 acre, ppl gossiping when u talk to a person of the opposite sex, talks on how one should look and behave like a married person (the last one aimed at me for obvious reasons)… AAArgh…
I salute you for going through the whole thing day in and day out losing your sanity. yep you are still sane. I lost it more than once in last 5 days. I guess you should do a post on idiosyncranacies of our beloved land…a lot of us can contribute in bits n parts
The other day a mother (a well educated woman, an army wife) stopped me to ask if I knew any eligible men suitable for her daughter. She was working in Chennai, just started after leaving college the same year. What she said was, “The girl may become independent, we have to marry her off before that happens, as quickly as possible”
I can relate to every word you have said. Ahh your comment reminds me of something I had been planning to write on: nosy neighbors. 😉 I better make a note of it.
I can’t help listen to the utter crap that everyone seems to be talking all around me. But luckily for me, I have earned a name that I am not like ‘them’ from the way I dress and the things I do. Nobody dares tell me anything or I might bite their head off. I want to anyways. Naah,. sigh, who am I kidding? I get my share too at times. I am actually too nice to people sometimes when they try their best to sit on my head.
Soma Mukherjee said:
Shail first things first
The moral of the story….if you have a twin tell your fiancee..cos you never know when they start their “dirty picture” and your fiancee misunderestimates( thank Bush)
second i will read stories here instead of watching movie..this is The most interesting movie review I have ever read anywhere….boley toh solid rapchik..loved it so much read it out to my friends 🙂
Third…By Gawd men have all the rights and women have none…unless of course director thinks otherwise( only in filams) in real life mera pati/ boy friend mera devta hai…
I hope all twins have picked up the moral of the story!
Lol *blush blush* at the compliments 😀
As for the men/women equation in films, these directors or story-writers are most times so dumb; that’s why I wrote: Dumb Dialogues 😉
The two were going to get married and the man didnt even know his fiancee had a twin sister?? 🙄 Trust our fillums and fillum-makers to come up with such ridiculousness and get away with it even! 😀
I felt they had a movie thread and cudn find a plausible way to wrap up the climax . The film though is not as much as disappointing as you would expect it to be is full of loop holes. The middle part in the desert is what is being highlighted . Every thing else is just rushed through. Shail , Why it doesn’t surprise me I was not at all able to swallow the twin and peeping part . Much less the confession. Anybody who loves someone deeply will not take these incidents lightly . There will be more intense conversations or feelings . And what about the back ground of Bhavana’s family . All the more bizzare . At first I thought it is a remake of the beautiful movie ‘ Serendipity ‘ . But thankfully they pulled only one or two ideas . All the rest is a mixture of all the movies ever made . Nice try though.
BTW , did you watch ‘vellaripravinte changathi ‘ ?
“Anybody who loves someone deeply” Yes! And look at how exactly they fell in love. And you just walk in and believe all sorts of things about your love? That happens only in movies.
But anyways this is not meant to be about the movie at all 🙂 I had to tell the story so I could talk about the last scene. What happens there reflects the way some real people behave in real life. I admit the whole story seemed to me to be an avial of sorts!
I haven’t seen ‘Vellaripravinte changathi’. Is it good?
Deeps, Oh the movie has lot of explanations for that, the circumstances in which they met, their respective families being in different countries and all that 🙂 And she is supposed to have kept it a secret to surprise him (at the wedding) 😀
Double Inverted Commas said:
What utter grief!
Oh yeah! BTW welcome to Shail’s Nest. 🙂
R's Mom said:
WHAT!!! like Deeps said..they are getting married and they dont their families…kya logic hai!
These fillum wallahs have whacky reasons for everything. This time it was that gal wanted to surprise guy! 🙄
its not just husbands .. its all men .. brothers, friends, colleagues …
a bunch of us girls once had a misunderstanding with another female colleague (our fault actually) and after we had profusely apologized to her many times she was still sullen .. so this guy friend tells us i really dont understand the big deal you females make out of apologizing. Ek baar sorry bol diya ho gaya na .. wyaar ! hy get so emotional about it !
You have a point Ruchira. It is m,en in general and some women too. I can so imagine what you have just outlined happening.
oh..its a vicious circle – reel life copies real life and the other way round. there are many ‘popular’ movies that had me frothing at the mouth. case in point is ‘bhagban’. it is a bit idiotic to psychoanalyse bollywood…but still this was so OTT. what irritated me was the depiction that ‘splitting’ of parents was all caused by evil bahus. and it is the evil bahus who are in charge of ill-treating etc. and the men…poor, naive things just dance to their tunes. and the evil bahus are only after money and career and don’t even bring up their children well…it is only when the grandparent intervenes…does the moral upbringing of the kids start. and we all love to play victims right…so nearly every other elder i’ve met has ‘identified’ with the suffering reel parents …what all they have to endure in the hands of the evil bahu…how dare she has a voice when it comes to her husband and her children? does she not know that her purpose was served when she popped out the grandkids?
there was yet another movie…a rich girl marries into ‘middle-class’ family…and because she is rich, she must be a b***h right? in one of the scenes that apparently shows how close knit a middle class family is (dinner time = family time) the brothers-in-law are mimicking the new bahu…all in good healthy fun. then, they make fun of her parents in a demeaning way. when she protests, there is perplexion everywhere…almost like ‘we are just making fun of your parents, commenting on their behaviour and mannerisms and physical attributes…so why are you getting upset you neurotic b***h?
and all those 70s, 80s movie where the lady in the side role (hero’s sister usually) is either raped, or dumped after her ‘maa bannewali hun’ stage…and in the happy ending climax, the hero ‘convinces’ the rapist or playboy to marry the sister after much thrashing. ergo you have courts giving out such solutions to rape victims…out of court settlement.
the list is endless….
The scenes you have outlined are so damn familiar!
You know Sumana, in most cases in real life, the grandparents spoil the grand-kids silly. But in every movie without fail you have such children turning over a new life only when the grandparents with their wisdom take over. Hmm…
Tell me about people liking to play victims. I have seen it happening right in front of my eyes, Even those elders who have everything laid out perfectly to their liking by their children are not averse to playing the wronged victims of a dreamed up uncaring bahu.
And yes, those sitting in seats of judgement have grown up on just such a diet of rapist marrying the hapless sister of the hero at the end of a movie. So we know where such suggestions are coming from in real life 😦
Who needs to go to the movies when you are around?
Your description was so graphic !
I agree with your views, and your post rekindled old memories.
It’s been years since I went to see a Mallu movie.
1982 to be exact.
I was posted at Kollam for a year and lived alone leaving behind the family at Bangalore.
To beat the heat and ward off depression due to loneliness I often took refuge in the movie halls which were modern, posh and air-conditioned.
Those were the days when TV was rare. PCs were just making an entry in the big cities and the internet did not exist.
I saw plenty of Mallu movies and soon developed a taste for them.
Memories have faded, but “Endey Maamaatikutti Ammaikkya”, “Ormaikkyaayee”, and the Malayalam original of the Hindi remake “Maasoom” (I don’t recall the name) still linger.
I also recall some brilliant performances from a bald character actor (Gopi?). I forget the name of the film but he was simply outstanding in that murder mystery involving a drama troupe where he played the role of the Tabla artist. I also loved the character actors (Shankaraadi, Nedumoody Venu, and the comedian Jagathy etc) more than the heroes. Among the heroes, only Mammooty found favour with me. Others were Rathish, Shahnawaz, Pratap Pothen those days. Mohanlal had not yet come on the scene. Yesudas’s singing enraptured me.
I also noticed that the heroines were all plane janes, totally devoid of Sex appeal. I considered that a credit to the Industry and felt that it was evidence of a mature audience. I remember Jalaja in particular.
I found Mallu movies much better than the Bollywood stuff of those days.
Bold new themes were explored by Mallu directors. Technically too the films were top class. Even without knowing Malayalam well I was able to appreciate and enjoy them. Sadly, a rash of soft porn movies made the industry notorious and I remember some eye brows being raised and lips curling into sarcastic smiles when I mentioned to some friends that I had enjoyed watching Malayalam movies! I recall that a movie titled “Avalude Raavugal” was hotly doing the rounds and posters of the actress Seema were splashed all over, creating both thrills and embarrassment depending on which side of the “morality line” you were.
Nowadays, I hardly go to the movie halls.
The internet keeps me gainfully occupied and you, IHM and all the great bloggers out there are my new stars!
Lol, thank you GV 🙂 Once I watched amazed as the L & M related the story of a novel that I had read, to one of his colleagues, urging him to read the book. “But you haven’t read the book!” I told him. Yeah, but I had told him the story! 😉 😀
The movie you mention is called Yavanika and is one of my favorites from that period of time, the murder mystery.
The time you mention was the beginning of a wonderful period in Malayalam cinema. Better films followed. Now more and more films are imitating Bollywood and break into totally unnecessary song and dance at the drop of a hat. Yes, Mallu movie scene had earned a name for itself as churner of soft porn. Most of the men in and around my age, those who reside outside the state and are nt familiar with the language, are quite familiar with those movies I find, much to my secret amusement.
Mallus are ahead in going for bold new themes in the present too 🙂
Such a stupid story…..I mean a man would know his fiancee has a twin!
But I bet the story-writer is counting the moolah he has collected by telling such an unbelievable tale! 🙂
🙂 There’s an English movie “Nothing to Lose” that is perhaps the *Inspiration* for this movie – though it looks like the story has been duly Indianized… Loved the take on the guys/gals who cannot take responsibility for their actions – Having personally met a guy who blamed his girlfriend for his poor performance in an exam ( “She fought with me the the day before and I was upset!”). Hmmm…
Welcome to Shail’s Nest Seagull 🙂 Ahh… I was wondering all the time, which movie could have inspired this, for inspired it was, I was sure. 🙂
Lol, first ‘she’ fought and then the bad performance because of it. Hmm… 😉
Oh wow, I just read the story of Nothing to Lose here: http://www.mediacircus.net/nothing.html and they are a lot alike, including the desert part of it, how he tries to kill himself. 🙂 There are deviations as well and I won’t be surprised if they have been lifted from some other movie *tongue in cheek* 😉