Women-centric movies are not new to Tamil audience.
What IS new is a movie about a woman who living outside societal norms. A single mother who is fiercely independent and isn’t afraid to indulge in her vices might not resonate well with the masses, but this works for Taramani. The movie narrates an observation of the human psyche, with themes of misogyny, infidelity, homosexuality and motherhood running parallel.
This movie, however, does sit well with scores of urban Indian women simply because the story of Althea (Andrea Jeremiah) is so real. Althea meets Prabhunath (Vasanth) on a rainy day, before listening to his devastating love story of him being fleeced by his girlfriend. Althea and Prabhunath strike an unlikely friendship that eventually leads to love, with him falling in love with Althea’s son. They enjoy a brief song sequence as a family before Prabhunath starts expecting Althea to conform to what society expects of a woman.
Prabhunath spews out lines full of misogyny, only to be met by Althea’s retorts which display incredible strength that comes from her personal battles with society. There are moments that make the viewers want to scream at the injustice faced by Althea, and women in general. She (most women, for that matter) is forced to prod and parade through a world permeated with patriarchy. The satire laden commentary is a joy to hear, and ties the loose ends of the movie together perfectly.
Infidelity is a theme prevalent throughout the movie, and we laud the director, Ram, for zooming in on this issue from both genders’ perspectives.
Andrea is probably one of the few actresses in the Tamil industry with the chops to carry out a role like this, and she does it with ease. Vasanth’s performance is good but leaves the viewer irritated at times. Azhagam Perumal carries his role out to a tee. Anjali is remarkably forgettable.
After watching this movie, it feels like all other masala mass movies are simply trying to pull wool over the viewer’s eyes. Let’s face it. Indian women are no longer helpless damsels in distress waiting for our hero to come save us. We hope this movie sets a precedent in the Tamil movie industry, for more women to be portrayed as independent, self sufficient, self loving characters who don’t mind having a smoke once in a while. This movie is a candid representation of real life, and is devoid of sugarcoating that is usually present in Tamil movies.
Taramani is akin to a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. There’s the awesome, the good, the bad and the horrendously ugly. But isn’t that the same with real life?