The first thing that came up in my head when I woke up today morning was the Tamil movie “Natpukkaga” and the ideas in it.
Here’s the plot:
“Chinnaiya (Sarath Kumar) is a faithful servant in the house of a rich man (Vijayakumar). There is no love lost between the rich man and his eldest daughter (Sitara). His second daughter, Prabhavathy (Simran Bagga), who arrives from a foreign land, falls in love with Chinnaiya but after gaining his trust, accuses him of attempting to rape her.
Turns out that she did this to try to unite her sister’s family with her father and send Chinnaiya out since it was Chinnaiya’s father who killed her mother. So Chinnaiya is kicked out of the house. Meanwhile Muthaiya (also Sarath Kumar), Chinnaiya’s father, is released from jail.”
The story continued by me as I remember it:
Simran goes and lives with her sister. Sister’s husband comments that is is unsuitable for an unmarried girl to stay at their house like that and arranges the marriage with his brother/cousin or someone.
The truth is later revealed that it was it was Simran’s sister’s husband who killed her mother. The mother walked in when the sister’s husband (on the day of their marriage) was having an affair with a maid and claimed that he was marrying Simran’s sister only for money. He kills her.
Muthaiya discovers the dead body. He runs to tell Vijay, but the thali (mangalsutra) has already been tied. So, he claims he murdered the mother, to save the marriage of the elder sister, who is already married to the murderer as he does not want her to become a widow.
Truth comes out, there are fight scenes, both Vijay and Muthaiya die and Simran marries Chinnaiya.
I wish the movie had shown some things differently but it plays into the same old stereotypes and societal rules and reinforcing these ideas. And the movie was a hit.
The not so women friendly patriarchal ideas:
- The honour of the women lies in her not exposing too much of her skin. Why are we so hung up on women’s bodies. Why are we made to be ashamed of our bodies? (This is underlined in some scenes not described in the movie plot above).
- Muthaiya takes the blame for the murder as the thali has already been tied. Why is that one act taken as a point of no return? Why is marriage seen as irreversible tying women and men forever for life with no choice to leave, even if it is with an abuser or a murderer.
- Is it better to let a woman be married to a murderer because you do not want to destroy her marriage? What kind of a marriage will it be when the husband of the lady murdered the lady’s mother and was already having a illict affair with the maid and married this girl for money only? Why do we consider it so essential to save such marriages? Unhappily married is better than not being married. Being married to a murderer, a cheater and a greedy guy is better than being unmarried. Is this what we teach our women?
- Why should it be considered bad if an unmarried sister of marriageable age stays in anybody’s house. Why do we automatically assume sex is happening and what’s wrong if she is doing what she pleases irrespective of marriage?
- Why do people agree to marry each when they barely know each other?
- There is another fight scene when muthaiya almost kills the sister’s husband but stops because he does not want the girl to become a widow, even after everyone knows the truth and the real murderer now. Why do we discriminate against widows like that? Why is marriage and a live husband used to give so much status to a woman?