Nerkonda Paarvai

Spoilers ahead..

I haven’t watched Pink, so this piece is only based on my viewing of Nerkonda Paarvai, which many people think is a faithful remake.

It is sad to see that even after nearly 35 years of Mouna Ragam, in which Mani Ratnam shows what consent is with a single scene (not to educate but show that that is an entirely normal scenario), this society still needs this movie where they actually need to spell it out as ‘No means No’. Well, these are the interesting times we live in.

It is heartening to see Ajith doing such a movie, given that so many young people seem to be following and hero-worshipping him these days. There are different angles to this movie – it deals with the core message of #MeToo at its heart, but it is also a courtroom drama (which satisfied the Perry Mason fan in me) and there are some ‘Thala’ moments for his fans in the first half. The first half wasn’t very well knit together in my opinion, but I guess it set the stage for all the action in the courtroom in the second half. Through it all, what an understated performance by Ajith! Shraddha Srinath was superb and most other actors were good too (including the Superwoman lady constable). Yuvan Shankar Raja’s background music was so subdued and never interfered in the proceedings.

As the first half rolls out, we go through the excruciatingly familiar moments of what happens when you get involved in a case against a powerful person’s family – threatening, blackmailing, molestation, shaming – all of which have been reinforced by the countless movies and countless incidents in our society. I was almost reliving all the news and incidents we have heard that branched off from the storyline of this movie – a victim committing suicide after all the shaming, not being able to afford a lawyer, not to mention all the family-targeted crimes against lawyers and policemen. The fact that this movie sails through all these possibilities to lead us to the sensible end it does brings some hope for the times to come.

I liked how the movie ends, not with a ‘judgement passed and all the bad guys will be put behind bars’, but the judge saying that the other cases will now be taken up. This is an ongoing struggle and battle.

I saw a meme about a possible inspiration for Bharat Subramanian’s name (Subramania Bharati, and therefore, Nerkonda Paarvai). Seemed quite apt. There is no need not to have a Nerkonda Paarvai or not to stand up to blaming and shaming and the double standards that we are regularly subjected to.

After the movie (and even at some points in the movie), it was sad to see that a group of guys were ridiculing the whole thing and making jokes. As I boarded the train back to get home, I chose a compartment as far away from them as possible.

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