“Lakshmi”-.This Tamil short film is viral in social media especially in facebook. The movie came up with great reviews from men and women especially youngsters. people have gone to the extent of even sharing that this movie is a slap on the faces of men who did not treat their wives like humanbeings. Tags like “Women”, “Real women”, “Empowering women” are also visible.
I am not going deep into the screenplay, acting, background score and dialogues. I am trying to restrict my views only with respect to the manner in which this subject is handled.
The story line revolves around how life drives a normal middle class working woman to choose a relationship ( Not sure if this word is apt) outside marriage after losing hopes in her husband. And people calls this empowerment. Seriously?
Wait! Don’t attempt to justify her act and support her move without reading this in full. I am not debating on the legal/moral barriers against women choosing a relationship outside marriage.
Portraying woman with such a weak mindset is no where close to empowerment in my opinion. It is foolishness. The movie shows a woman taking care of her routine, does her household chores, take care of her kid and her husband, have sex with her husband and in addition to that goes to a daily job. I am not able to see any amount of cruelty in any of the above acts for the lady to complain and cry. What is seriously so abnormal here for people to over react when majority of women in this society do over and above these?
Some say that the husband treats her like an object and she is being ‘used’. Taking care of a man with whom you share your life is a liability? There are women who are subjected to physical abuse and violence. There are wives of drunkards and drug addicts who in spite of bearing the torture from their husbands bring up their children by themselves without any kind of financial or physical or emotional support. There are women who trash such cruel and useless men from their life and live independently in this world and making their mark. When compared to such women, what lakshmi underwent in the story is very minimal. One justification which she can give herself may be the anonymous phone call received by her husband.
Lakshmi’s husband is not a superhero. He is an average middle-class man who leads a machine like life with his work and family. So what? Is that a crime? I too agree that he is’nt supportive or understanding. They don’t seem to share a great relationship. Agreed. Isn’t she equally responsible for that? Not even in one scene she is trying to make any effort to express her love. How will that make a woman fall for a random guy without knowing anything about him just for a sake of few bharathiyar poems (She doesn’t even seem to understand). So what is the message that this movie maker is trying to convey? A man who is an artist and who recites poems is superior and an average man who is not able to or fails to express his love and concern is inferior? If women start measuring a man’s love with such stupid yardsticks, then more than 50% of the marriages only fail.
Another stupidity I saw in the reviews is “She was used by her husband for sex.” I somehow feel that the theory of using one’s own wife for sex itself is highly chauvinistic. Sex is not just a husband’s /men’s thing. It is a mutual feeling/interest/importance/happiness for men as well as women. So who is using whom? There is no question of gain/ loss in a relationship and even if so, it is not gender specific. Nowhere in the movie it is shown that he is forcing her for anything. So I am not able to understand why people bring such arguments here again and again.
I am not against showing women bold or revolutionary. I love to watch women dominating or feminist movies. Movies like Magair mattum ( Old one), Kalyana agathigal, Manathil Uruthi vendum etc are my all time favorite and I watch them even today with same excitement. They gave different perspective to women empowerment and how women fight back in the world surrounded by challenges. Having said that, seeing people calling movies like this as empowerment is laughable.
Every piece of artistic work is subject to public criticism. In the last one year I have seen many short films half of which are really amazing and the rest of them are average and worst ones too. But the over reaction to this movie is what made me to write this and I repeat, I am not criticizing the artistic skills expressed by the team. But with respect to the concept I oppose this in full.
Thanks for the read!