Gautam Vasudev Menon and Relationships- An analysis of Vinnaithandi Varuvaya

Gautam Vasudev Menon and Relationships- An analysis of Vinnaithandi Varuvaya

Take any relationship- be it between a parent and one's kids, that with one's friends, or colleagues etc., Any contact between two humans has got lot of intricacies and nuances. But nothing can beat the complexity more than a relationship that blossoms between a man and a woman who intends to share their life with each other. Given its complexity, capturing it in truest sense and realistically is quite a challenge for anyone as there is nothing black or white about 'Love', it's always in the grey!! The challenge lies in bringing out the inner emotions including the ambiguities and uncertainties in the minds of the characters who are portrayed to be in love. When it comes to authors, I always felt Somerset Maugham stands out in beautifully showcasing the vulnerabilities of the lovers. He goes to such depths so as to capture even the minutest of emotions in detail. For instance, his stories would narrate how stealthily they yearn to meet each other and verbalises the hard emotions that even the person undergoing them can't express in words. 

When it comes to movies, primarily to Tamil cinema, I would say Gautham Vasudev Menon(GVM) is one of those rarest directors who has wielded these emotions wonderfully and has approached the relationship 'Love' in a multi-dimensional way. I recently watched Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya(VTV) in Theater, which was re-released after its original release in 2010 and watching that movie is the trigger point for this post. 

If one analyses the movies he has directed starting from his debut, which is Minnale, one can observe that Love in his movies are never abusive. The Love may fall apart but the lovers would still wish each other the best, though they may reel from despair, which makes me respect GVM. You may wonder as to what is so different about this approach as this quality is just an exhibition of inner goodness that all humans are expected to possess by default. The difference is that when one's inner and yearned emotions are hurt, it may cause aberrations in the way one usually tend to behave. If you take a typical love failure movie in Tamil cinema(barring GVM's movies and few other exceptions), one of them would try to harm or threaten the other or engage in slander by throwing abusive words at the moved on partner, as they wouldn't be able to stand seeing their partner sharing their lives with a stranger. Or they would go down the drug/alcoholic addiction path, ruining their lives, which again obviously isn't the right approach. You don't see this in GVM's movies often.

Coming to VTV, we all know the story!! But for the sake of those who haven't watched the movie, here's a quick recap- Karthick(Simbu) falls in love with Jessie(Trisha) who is an year elder to him. Trisha relents at Simbu's hard-to-say-no love but she also oscillates in her decision as her father is against love marriage. Whether the couple unite or not is what one gets to know in the climax. Like I said before, this is a beaten down storyline except for the age(heroine older than hero) factor, which was new to Tamil cinema. For someone who plainly watches the movie, one may find the indecisiveness of Trisha irritating as to why would she let go of her love or if she likes her father so much why would she even accept Karthik's proposal but that's where reality kicks in, which GVM has portrayed beautifully and kudos to the lead pair too for bringing it out so well on the screen. 

When someone is in love and when the family disagrees to it, most of the movies ends up where the lover leaves the family so that he/she can unite with their partner or they would let go of their love, succumbing to family pressure. In case of VTV, GVM handles the same storyline in a realistic manner; he has managed to bring the inner emotions and struggles of a girl who wants parents approval for her to go ahead with the love but who also doesn't want her lover to be hurt either. As we all know, audience don't like a sad ending, though they are pretty aware of the fact that life doesn't always give you only happy endings as it pushes you hard and at times, makes you take heart crushing decisions, because it is what it is!! 

When Jessie feels that it is time that she let go of Karthick from her life once and for all, Karthick tries to persuade her to rethink her decision but in vain. Thanks to those days(remember this movie is more than a decade old) where there was no Facebook, Insta or LinkedIn, leaving them no option to stalk each other, which allowed some room for they were able to pursue their lives on their respective tracks.

Had it been now, how would GVM rewrite the story, with all these social media elements factored in, is something that I would like to see. GVM's brilliance was also felt in the way he has embedded a movie within a movie. Karthick finally becomes a director and the movie that he directs is nothing but his life story twisted to end it on a happier note, which also was what he had longed for but now out of reach. This is also symbolic of the fact that Karthick is grateful for his bitter sweet experience with Trisha and his acceptance of the fact that she is not part of his life anymore. But unlike typical love failure stories, the hero doesn't grow a long beard, who whiles away carrying a wine bottle, rather he uses his experience as an inspiration to live his dream of becoming a director. At the same time, Karthick is also not portrayed as a saint but a normal human being where he displays his emotions and unabated feelings for Trisha very well, which helps audience to appreciate his struggle to overcome his thoughts about her. 

People long to escape into the world of cinema because it gives them certain solace as it portrays situations that may be hypothetical but soothes their wounded soul. But the problem with that approach sometimes is that people tend to get swayed about things that potentially wouldn't happen in real life and when that actually happens they have little idea as to how to handle that, as movies showcase it differently. VTV is a very grounded movie and sticks to the reality and according to me, it is a must watch movie for lovers for 2 reasons- One, the person you love may not be always in a position to choose family over love or vice versa because for someone who has been raised well by their parents, one wouldn't throw either of them under the bus; the other is to understand how to gracefully move on, if the love eventually fails, despite best intention and efforts. 

Last but not the least, the songs are as refreshing to hear as they were 10 years ago and what else could one expect from AR Rahman of those days!! If you are a VTV fan or someone who hasn't watched this movie but likes non-fiction love genre, then you could definitely hit the theater!.


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