Friday, February 13, 2015

Rhythm - A memorable flashback

This is an age of netizens.A movie's fate can be known within minutes after its release.One need not even wait to find a computer to login and update the review,people have smart phones with 2G/3G data facilities.Infact some people have gone mad that they start posting scene by scene updates too thereby killing the mood of others who haven't watched the movie.Now I want to review a movie which released 15 years ago.I have mentioned the movie name in the title of this post - Rhythm,an Arjun starer directed by Vasanth.

It was holiday time for me when I watched this movie.I watched it in New Cinema Theater( Sri Krishna Palace) in Tindivanam.I went with an expectation of watching some fun-filled action entertainer.I ended up with Rhythm.I had no patience as the reaction of the audience influenced me too.I felt its a painfully slow boring movie.The main reason for watching this movie was songs.A R Rahman was at his peak when this movie got released and Vasanth said in some interviews that there are 5 songs representing the 'pancha boothas(Five prime elements of nature)' - land,water,air,sky and fire.This created an expectation in me and I went to theater.After few months I watched the same movie in sun tv - alone. I understood the movie and fell in love with it.Let me explain this sequence later in this article, now my focus shifts to movie.

Movie starts with the song for water - 'Nadhiye nadhiye'.The main characters involved are Arjun,his parents,Meena,her son and actress Lakshmi.The hero-heroine meets are so natural.At the beginning,Arjun initiates chats with Meena,ofcourse naturally and Meena avoids him.Later on they become friends.This sequence is too natural that we can feel as if its happening in our day to day life.One fine day, Meena requests Arjun and his family to take care of her son for few days as she wants to go out of Mumbai for few days due to some work.Now a strong bonding develops between Arjun and the boy. In between there is a flashback for both Arjun and Meena and the twist is Arjun is a widower while Meena is a widow.Arjun's wife Jyothika and Meena's husband Ramesh Aravind,both died in the same train accident.After knowing all this, Nagesh, Arjun's father asks Meena if she was ready to marry him and she says no immediately.That ends the friendship between Arjun and Meena.

Ours is a society where women has lot of restrictions.Vasanth takes on all the social restrictions imposed on women.He doesn't preach the audience with 10 page dialogues that women are this and that and we should worship them,celebrate them,bla bla bla..Meena's husband is shown as someone belonging to a wannabe orthodox Brahmin family.His ambition was to adopt an orphan kid and wants his wife to consider that kid as their first child.His mom,Lakshmi,an old fashioned traditional mom is not ready to accept this.She neither accepts her son's love.Ramesh Aravind and Meena marries without the permission of Ramesh Aravind's parents.Fate plays its part and hours after the marriage Ramesh goes to meet his mom hearing that she is ill.Lakshmi refuses to meet him and sends him out without even blessing him a happy married life.Ramesh travels back in train.

The other flashback shows as Arjun working in bomb squad and he loves his profession so much.He loves his wife like anything and while watching the movie one may feel that Karthik and Aruna(Arjun and Jyothika) are the happiest couple.Even the impatient audience in that small theater enjoyed the Arjun-Jyothika sequence.One day Jyothika expresses her fear about her husband's job to Ajay Rathnam,Arjun's close friend.She doesn't want to say anything about it to her husband,because she knows how much he loves that job and she loves her husband even more.Again fate plays its role here.Ajay gets brutally injured while diffusing a bomb and he conveys the fear expressed by Jyothika to Arjun.He understands it and immediately resigns his job.He loves his wife more than his job.He doesn't want his wife to be worried.He informs Jyothika about his resignation through a phone call.Jyothika was in her friend's marriage.On hearing this from her husband,out of excitement she immediately leaves to Chennai to meet Arjun.She gets into a train.

Now both the trains clash with each other and Ramesh and Jyothika dies.Meena adopts a kid from the orphanage(Shivananda Gurukulam) where Ramesh was serving and names him Shiva as a token of love and respect for her husband.She gets her husband's bank job.Her in-laws refuse to accept her and she takes care of the kid all alone.Shiva became too close to Arjun.The society is not only with good people.It has its own share of selfish, bad,ugly and cruel people too.One such person is living in Meena's neighborhood.

In our society young/middle-aged widows and divorcees are soft target for men.They want to exploit the biological emotions of these women.They will not marry these women but are ready to do everything else.When you talk about marrying them,you will get all the lectures of tradition,culture etc etc etc.Now,the neighbor attempts to rape Meena and she escapes from him.There is a scene following this like Arjun fighting with the neighbor and this fellow migrates with his family from his residence.This scene is added keeping Arjun's action hero image in mind.But thats just 5 minutes and its alright.Meena meets a priest who seems to be her well-wisher.She openly expresses her fear of being alone.The attempt-to-rape incident has created a sense of fear in her.She has a responsibility with her in the form of Shiva.The priest advises her to marry again.Director speaks through this priest.A short but powerful conversation.

He says,"you should marry again,if not for you,atleast for your kid.Why are you not accepting for another marriage?Do you think its a betrayal to your husband?If your husband loved you really will he be happy to see you suffering like this throughout your life?Those days when my grandfather died,they burnt my grandmother as well along with him.Doesn't it appear foolish now?Likewise things has to change.Just because someone we like has died, it doesn't mean our life is over with them.Death is not the end".This the director is not advising to Meena,but to the society.He asks the society to treat women equally through these dialogues.

A disturbed Meena thinks about this.Though she refused to marry Arjun,somewhere deep inside her mind she too wants someone like Arjun to take care of her.She wants someone who understands her well,someone who will consider her son as his son.In short she wants to marry someone for whom love is more than just love-making.There is a scene which shows the boy crying to meet Arjun. Now Meena decides. She says,"will you be happy if we all - you,me,Karthik sir(Arjun) and his parents live in the same house?" and the boy happily says yes.Had Arjun married Meena with this scene,the movie might have ended soon and the audience might not have complained about the length.But that would have been incomplete.So there is more. Meena calls Arjun and asks him to meet her.Now she is all set to propose him and convey the decision about marriage.She blushes again.There is a beautiful song for this situation - 'thaniye thannanthaniye naan kaathu kaathu nindren'.

Meena comes back.She is in for a shock.Her mother-in-law,Lakshmi is sitting inside the house with Shiva.She is shocked.That's it.She doesn't show anyother emotion on her face. She does not angrily push her mother-in-law out of her house.She casually greets her. Serves her food with total respect.After eating Lakshmi cries loud.She says because she refused to meet Ramesh on that fateful day,he met with an accident and she killed her own son.She is moved by her daughter-in-law's gesture to serve food and treat her with respect. She asks her to quit the job and come to her native to live together.The old lady feels she was not fortunate to live with her son for a long time and she wants to spend her remaining life with her grandson and daughter-in-law.Meena with a heavy heart agrees to it.She leaves with Lakshmi and Shiva,gets into train.Meanwhile Arjun is waiting for Meena.He is waiting. She notices him.She cares for him.She wants to get down and explain her situation to him. But something restricts her.She feels it awkward to do so infront of her mother-in-law.With tears in her eyes she leaves without even informing him.Arjun is still waiting.He waits for a long time.

Thank God Vasanth didn't end the movie like this to show Meena as a woman who has not deviated from the so called tradition.There is more.Meena is not selfish.She wanted to marry Arjun not only for security reasons,but also out of love.Her love was true too.The news about a bomb blast in Mumbai Indian Express office (Arjun works for Indian Express) sends a chill down her spine.She immediately makes a phone call to the Indian Express office and inquires about Arjun.She is relieved after knowing that he is fine.

Now Arjun meets Meena in Ooty, this is mere coincidence.Lakshmi learns about how Arjun's wife died and invites him to her home.Arjun agrees to it.Finally Arjun and Meena gets the much needed privacy as Lakshmi has gone to school to pick up Shiva. Now Meena makes a confession.She explains everything to him.She says she called him to say yes to the marriage and the events that followed has brought her here.Finally she says,even now if I don't say this,you will never ask,because you are so good (ipo kooda naanaa idha sollalanaa neenga idha kettirukka maatinga,ennaa neenga romba nallavar :-) ). Finally Lakshmi comes to know about the marriage plan through Shiva. She requests Arjun to marry Meena and says she is not an outdated woman(pazhaya panchangam) atleast in this matter. Meena needs someone like you to take care of her throughout the life. The movie happily ends with Meena and Arjun walking having Shiva in between them.

I used to wonder what made me like this movie after 6 months.Till now I haven't found a convincing answer for this.Probably I should have watched the movie patiently without getting influenced by the activities of people around.What went wrong with this movie that it failed in box office?Some charismatic actor instead of Ramesh Aravind might have worked out.Someone like Mounaragam Karthik.Otherwise no complaints about this movie at all. Vasanth has beautifully explained the feelings of a woman. The poetic love sequences with a lovely music makes this movie one of my all-time favorites :-). By the time am publishing this post,it will be February 14 - Valentine's day.Yes this is a Valentine's day special.

I could have written some usual girl-boy-love related stuff.But I wanted to attempt something different.I wanted to write something so that the misogynistic boys/men understands the feelings of girls/women.I want to strongly express my opinion that love is more than love-making.Love is much more than kissing on road.I know you all have watched Rhythm so many times in KTV.Still I wanted to use this movie as a medium to convey certain things.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!