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Tamil film 'Nerkonda Paarvai' tackles stereotyping

Superstar Ajith Kumar gives the word ‘hero’ a whole new meaning in Nerkonda Paarvai. Picture: www.filmbeat.com

Superstar Ajith Kumar gives the word ‘hero’ a whole new meaning in Nerkonda Paarvai. Picture: www.filmbeat.com

Published Aug 16, 2019

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Durban - THE Post decided to do things a little differently with the review for Nerkonda Paarvai, the latest Tamil movie screening at local cinemas.

Instead of zooming in on technicalities such as the film’s direction, cinematography etc, we focus on the issues it addresses.

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This courtroom drama opened on August 9, when we commemorated Women’s Day.

Nerkonda Paarvai tackles stereotyping, the abuse of, and indignity against, women. It is the story of three young women who struggle to get justice for sexual assaults, threats and harassment perpetrated against them. They are pitted against a male-dominated hierarchy and a traditional society that frowns upon modern women.

However, I would argue that this reflects on today’s broader society. Stereotypes such as saying a woman is “easy” or a “slut” simply because of the way she dresses; because she goes to clubs or has more male friends than is considered “the norm”, are not common to this storyline, which is set in India.

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We see it every day.

Starring Ajith Kumar, Shraddha Srinath, Abhirami Venkatachalam and Andrea Tariang, the film is a remake of the 2016 Bollywood hit film Pink.

Meera, Famitha and Andrea (Srinath, Venkatachalam and Tariang) are friends from humble backgrounds who work in the city, helping their families.

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After an EDM (electric dance music) Festival one night, they go off with a group of guys.

The audience is suddenly shown flashes of the guys rushing one of their friends to a hospital. Then, the film shows the girls making their way home in a taxi, visibly shaken and distraught. The anxiety and tension is felt as they debate, over the next few days, whether or not to report the matter (which is revealed in court) to the police.

Kudos to Srinath, Venkatachalam and Tariang for their passionate performances. What follows, however, is a series of bullying tactics by the guys whose egos are bruised. Leading the pack is Adhik (played by Arjun Chidambaram) who is from a rich and politically well-connected family. A David-versus-Goliath scenario ensues.

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The only man willing to help the women, Bharath Subramaniam, (Kumar) is a lawyer with a reputation for fearlessly defending the weak.

Unfortunately, he is also struggling with personal challenges after the death of his family. Will he overcome his personal battles and win this war for these women?

The award-winning Kumar does a stellar job, particularly in the court scenes when he sets out a number of sarcastic “rules” that should “govern” women. These provide food for thought on the ridiculousness of society on the indignity against women.

What unfolds in the courtroom - and during the rolling of the credits, so stay on for that - are a number of crucial lessons that all men and women need to reminded of.

It does not matter if you are single, dating or married; if you are poor or rich; if you choose to dress conservatively or not, when a woman says “no” to sexual advances, it should stop there.

Nerkonda Paarvai is currently screening at Suncoast Cinemas.

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