This self-imposed sabbatical and vacation has freed up a lot of time. The Corona scare is keeping us locked inside and travel outside is restricted to buying provisions, essentials, and medicines if needed. On top of this the main road in the vicinity is under construction with a fresh layer of concrete being applied to the rundown road. The dust and grime do not make it pleasant to travel outside. The weather is still somewhat bearable and the intense heat spell is yet to start. My nephew is a huge wrestling fan and an automobile enthusiast. So he tunes into wrestling programs and browses automobile reviews on the large screen TV. This Fire Stick is a remarkable invention and literally brings the world to your finger-tips and casts it on the big screen. Even with about 5 to 10 MBPS speed the device and the TV work fine here. So in the afternoons after lunch, my nephew streams content on his phone or laptop or watches some Japanese animated series which he loves – Dragonball – I believe. This is the time when I watch movies on Prime or Netflix or Zee5.
A couple of days ago I watched two movies back to back. Vaanam Kotattum and Ayappanum Koshiyum. Please understand this is not a review. This is just a post on how the absence of a father/father-figure or the presence of an extremely opinionated and angry father/father-figure can impact the psyche of a young boy. As frequent readers of my blog and my few friends know, it took me a long time to understand my father and spend ample time with him and that too ended in an extremely bitter separation. In a country like India, for a woman to raise her children in the absence of her husband is a big challenge. Prying neighbours, society, so-called friends are more often than not a terrible pain in the rear.
In Vaanam Kotattum, Sarath Kumar is jailed for hacking two men to death. Those men had attacked his elder brother. The elder brother survives, the two men that SK hacks die. Radhika shifts to Chennai from Theni and struggles to rear her young boy and girl. The boy inherits his father’s anger and violence and is also street smart. As a song plays with the mandatory child to adult progression happens on screen; there’s one sequence that’s striking. The young boy, now a teen in high school, threatens to immolate himself if his mother does not give Rs 50. His mother gives in – does it set a tone for us to understand that he will go to any length to attain what he wants? There are multiple scenarios wherein we are shown a glimpse of the character’s propensity for violence. When a banana trader refuses to make a full settlement and cheats his uncle, Selva follows the trader, punches his nose and gets the money due to his uncle. This incident later forms the basis for his business idea of starting a banana trading shop in Koyambedu fruits and vegetables market. An earlier incident when he works as a cab-driver and saves Madonna Sebastian and her lover from drowning show his softer side. He refuses to accept any money for saving their lives from Madonna’s father. Later as he becomes a known banana trader he stands guarantee in the bank for a Rs 2 crores loan as Madonna’s father goes into hiding to evade loan sharks. Once Sarath Kumar is released from jail and he joins the family several changes occur. He is instrumental in securing a load of bananas from Bengaluru at short notice when the original supplier backtracks. The rain – a recurring motif pours as Selva and his sister drive around the city looking for their father. The movie quickens pace in the last quarter as one of the sons of the slain men aim to strike back and avenge the death of his father and uncle by killing SK. Nandha plays a double role here. Yet again the absence of a father turns one kid into a meek and submissive man while the other kid turns into a psychologically disturbed adult who craves vengeance all through his life. The movie works well despite Mani Ratnam’s contributions to the story the debutante director manages to weave a convincing tale and show his directorial caliber.
The second movie was Ayappanum Koshiyum. Prithviraj has grown in stature since the early days of Nandanam. We saw what he was capable of in Padmakumar’s Vargam. Mumbai Police was an incredible turning point and he has not looked back. Venturing into production and focusing on strong stories and working across genres he commands respect as well as a strong BO opening. Biju Menon – what do I write about him. Years ago in a television serial, I recollect that played on DD Malayalam, he played Chandu a character involved in the theft of an idol from a temple. If anyone recollects the name of the serial do mention it in the comments. Biju Menon has always been a dependable actor, no ego or frills and fancies, be it action, comedy, or drama, he will go about his task with ease. Ordinary revived his and Kunchako Boban’s careers.
In AK – Prithvi is Koshiy – a retired havildar with a strong political connection through his father and heir to a fortune of sorts. We have Ranjith playing Koshiy’s father – in snatches we learn Koshiy flunked the pre-degree exam and joined the army to avoid shame and ridicule. All through his childhood his father has pestered him questioning his abilities. Koshiy definitely has an alcohol problem. He is married and has two little daughters. Are they happily married? We assume things are OK like any family. His mother is bed-ridden. Ranjith was a political influencer in the past, now he is past his glory days. Koshiy is arrested for possession of alcohol in a protected area in Attapadi by Ayappan the police officer. Ayappan is a police officer who follows the law book and portrayed as a man with a golden heart. As the movie progresses we learn many interesting facts. He marries an Adivasi woman who is accused of being a Maoist sympathizer and gives her a stable life and is blessed with a young child. The movie is a clash of fragile masculine egos that sees how low will one person go to provoke another person and fight it out rather than having a heart-to-heart discussion. Koshi shoots a video of Ayappan opening a sealed bottle of alcohol which he serves to him based on repeated requests. The poor constable girl Jessie also becomes an unintended victim as the video is shared on TV channels and Ayappan loses his job. After this it is a game of one up-man ship as both the leads seek to destroy the lives of each other.
We learn another interesting facet about Ayappan’s life that is tied back to the opening sequence where a young man in traditional dance attire kills another individual. Ayappan an orphan had come from Tamil Nadu as an assassin for hire. He is saved by a local teacher who helps reform the young man and helps him join the police force. The uniform imparts dignity to his life and Ayappan becomes an honest cop and man. This is how the presence of a father-figure helps young men find their own true purpose in life.
Koshiy’s father arranges goons to bash up Ayappan and Koshiy is not aware of this. Koshiy also tries to resolve the issues but in the interim Ayappan visits Koshiy’s house and Koshiy’s father overreacts as does Koshiy’s wife who faints. The story builds up to a pulsating adrenaline-driven no-holds-barred fight. The two men bash each other up and are eventually separated by the cops in plain clothes. There’s a sequence where finally Koshiy challenges his father and confronts him with a heart to heart talk. Finally Koshiy’s father is sentenced to prison for planning to murder Ayappan. How things resolve? Who wins the fight between Mr. A and Mr. K.? You have to watch the movie to find the answers.
The whole purpose of this long blog post was the importance of an emotional chord and support that is needed for young children to grow up into responsible and loving adults. Are you a parent? How much time do you spend with your young ones? Do you treat your spouse with respect and dignity? How many people are leading a life of discord disguised as a life of convenience for the sake of the children, society, and status facades? Children learn by observing what their immediate family members do and say. No family or relationship is perfect. We do not live in Utopia. But it is important for parents to realize how they impact the emotional and psychological growth of their children by their words and deeds. Stop thrusting your unfulfilled dreams on your children. Spread love not hate.
Thank you for reading!