Taramani Review - An intriguing peek into the male psyche!!!
Third movie in a span of ten years does throw some light on the kind of person director Ram might be. He probably wants to make only the movies that he 'wants' to make. Taramani in a sense is an extension to his previous films on how the lives of individuals are governed by the societal changes around them. Taramani in a sense is a film about feminism. No! Not the kind of film where all the women are good and the male species is evil. It is a film that sort of leaves us to retrospect and look into ourselves. It is the filmmaker's most balanced film yet.
The initial few minutes leaves you undecided. There is Ram's voiceover covering few aspects about the happenings around the geography of Chennai including the Indo-Srilanka fishermen issue. Everything is in good ambition but you fear if the film could turn to lecturing. It is not that these lectures are not interesting. It is as good as listening to those hard hitting Karu Pazhaniappan speeches. But try fitting them into a film and you wonder if it is the right way to go. But this fear is short lived as the film soon gets into storytelling mode.
The most pleasant takeaway from Taramani is the unbiased way it deals with the current day conflicts in the boy/girl and man/woman relationships. This is not a film that tells you what is right and what is wrong. This is a film that wants to emphasise that right and wrong should not be coupled with the gender. There is this fascinating scene towards the end (Azhagam Perumal is excellent here) where a husband who has been cheated upon reasons out why he should forgive his wife.
Vasanth Ravi gets a character that is in most ways reflective of the average Indian male or maybe even males in general. He plays a good hearted and innocent young man who would not want to hurt anyone. But he ends up doing it to persons he loves the most. This conflict arises purely because of the way the male psyche has been conditioned. Even when he loses his temper and goes overboard we are not cursing him because we relate to him and his insecurities. It takes some time to warm up to the debutant actor but we do soon and he comes up with a fine performance. Andrea is brilliant as the level headed working woman who knows her priorities exactly and lives with her own principles. The love-hate relationship of this lead duo is not the typical one arising out of ego that we have been accustomed to. It is never about who is right and who is wrong. The tantrums that these two actors are involved in are so lifelike.
The second half of the film moves into a zone that deals with infidelity and promiscuity. But the treatment and the way Ram brings this to a close (the earlier mentioned scene involving Azhagam Perumal) is a pleasant surprise. Why is that we are more forgiving of a male who has strayed due to lust? Love, lust and what not are not reserved for either of the two sexes. The film also has a portion that deals with homosexuality. It does this with such warmth and the scene between the husband and wife (who has just learnt about her husband's orientation) is an important scene in Tamil film history.
Ram's voicover that keeps coming in between could probably be the only grudge that some of us might have. He seems fully aware of this and tries to come up with justifications that you might or might not buy into. But a flimsy rhyming dialogue about an 'Audi car' and 'Aadi discount' should have never found a place into such a refined film.
Yuvan's score and songs play a crucial role in making Taramani as mainstream as possible. The songs are part of the narrative, never stick out but still manage to have a certain peppiness about them.
Taramani touches upon a lot of things but at heart it is an intriguing journey into the male psyche. That Ram has managed to keep it engaging and fairly entertaining is good news.