Cute or not, here I come

I am not a movie buff. In fact, the very idea of sitting through three hours of “simulated wonders “tires me. Give me gossip about the couple next door, and I am all game. Ask me out for a movie, and you’d think I was the most boring woman on earth.

I am not a great writer (hadn’t you guessed already?), I am already off track. I do want to talk about “How/What cinema makes me feel”. All I want to make is a simple observation: Of late, South Indian cinema has seen a host of new heroines, trying to make their “mark” (wonder how, when they can barely act!) in the industry. One trait binding them all in unholy matrimony, is that they are all “cute”. A bunch of happy-happy, sweety-sweety, idle creatures, who cannot see beyond the raindrop clinging to the leaf or the twinkle twinkle little star. Before I get pigeon-holed into a “jealous bitch “, let me explain. I have nothing against these acts, after all, it does look “cute”. However, I am also left with the question “Is that what men/boys/whatever look for?”

Let me analyze a bit. A cute* girl, to me, seems more like an object than a person. Someone who’s always upbeat and giggly must either have no heart or probably uses very little of it. Being sad is an emotion that can bring your mind so many deep insights. Isn’t this “cute” person missing it all? To the man, the “cutie” entertains, nothing more. He is amused with her, he finds her antics heart-warming- in short she means no more to her than the puppy that welcomes him each day. Always happy, always upbeat. She is no more a person than the doll that closes its eyes when you put it down. She is but an “object of pleasure”.

Au contraire, the quieter, sadder woman unnerves the man. He does not know what to do with her. He feels cheated, he wonders if he had been given a raw deal. Obviously, if she cannot make him happy, she is not worth it. Instead of taking him away from the cruel world (of money, chores and trivialities), she brings him closer to it, reminding him each day of the mundaneness of it all. She starts to get more “real”, more of a person that he has to talk to and treat like an equal, rather than the “cute” thing, whom he could shrug off saying “She does not know the world”. The woman is his entertainment, his relaxation, she should never be a part of the “real” world that he deals with everyday.

Point is, women still act and get treated like objects. Because that is how the men want it.

Perhaps, the women themselves too.

*: I make no reference to individual natures here, just expressing myself on the general trend.

Of Wisdom and Reason

My paths have been weary,

and I am tired-

Kind souls offer a drink

but isn’t the river close by?

I do not know where he lives,

he that stole my heart and spoke

enticing words, I was his bride

And he, my Lord.

My saree lies crumpled

at my feet, my soul is bare

and yet, why is there not a drop

to drench my parched heart?

At the fair, she asked her love

for red flowers, yet another asked

for trinkets in gold- all I wanted

was the warmth of his embrace.

The lone tree yonder

where the parrot couple lives;

mocks at my ignorance

Can’t you hear me sing?

Days pass and so do nights

my tired eyes follow my heart

In their quest for unseen light

and unredeemed love.


Nauka Charithram

What a treat the past two days have been! After yesterday’s Koodiyattam, I attended a Kuchipudi recital performed by one of my students, with others from her dance school. The different pieces were, of course, brilliantly performed; although it was the music that had me spellbound. Their choices of krithis was impeccable.  I have listed them here. The shower of words spoken in pure Telugu was also a blessing, I must add.

Sringarinchukoni vedaliri  in Ragam Suruti by Thyagaraja

This particular piece is apparently from the Nauka Charithram by Thyagaraja, I learnt that only today. The lyrics are sensuous and appealing and lend themselves perfectly to the dance form. I could not listen to Nauka Charithram anywhere online, but the next time I go to Landmark, I know what to look for.

Thakkuvemi manaku in Ragam Saurashtra by Ramadasa

I have always loved Ramadasa kritis for their sheer simplicity and the element of bhakti, so melodiously put forth. But this piece was just sublime! The song outlines the dasavatars and their lives. The performers brought it out very nicely as well. In fact, I had goose bumps by the end of the piece. It was truly a treat.I want to learn to sing it as well. I have not always believed in it, but it is true that God, or how we see Him/Her lies completely in the hands of the artist. The artist IS God..

Bho Sambho shiva sambho swayambho in Ragam Revathy by Swami Dayananda Saraswathi

No dance recital can be complete without the portrayal of Nataraja, in all his glory. Once again, I stood awed at the power of the artist to infuse such energy and wild passion into the Lord of Dance. Without the song, without the dancers, would the Nataraja ever appear to be as He is : wild, passionate, graceful… ?

I accept today, without Art, mankind does not, and cannot exist.


Toranayuddham

“yaavat sthaasyanti girayah santah cha maheetale,

taavat raamayana katha lokesu pracharisyati…” Valmiki ( Bala Kanda, sarga 2 )

[As long as the mountains and even rivers flourish on the surface of the earth, so long the legend of Ramayana will flourish in this world.]

“yaavat sthaasyanti kudiyattam,

taavat raamayana katha lokesu pracharisyati..”,

That was how I felt after the Kudiyattam show that I attended today.  This particular piece was called Toranayuddham, from the Abhiseka Nataka ( Act III ) by Bhasa.

The act elaborates on how Ravana reacts to the destruction of Asoka Vana, Vibhisana’s advice to his brother and the argument between Ravana and Hanuman. The story is not new, but how perspectives change! Art can change history and the artist lives across time, I realised that today. The ancient epic came alive, the essence intact over multitudes of generations.

The dance had an unhurried feel to it, with the heavy costumes adding to the slowness.  Sanskrit verses were woven into the graceful moves, with the mizhavu and the edakka keeping beat.  It was amazing to see how different emotions were portrayed, with just symbolic representations. For instance, Ravana’s anger was shown with the help of flaming torches.  Ravana too, looked regal and absolutely beautiful! Why did he ever need ten heads to look grand, when all it took was a Kudiyattam performer to represent him!

I loved the scene where Ravana goes to Kailas and is awestruck with its grandeur.  Full credits to the actor for having brought it out in such simple yet effective gestures.

It has been a beautiful evening, and I am so happy. 🙂