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The Bollywood version of us Down-Vindhyans in Meenakshi Sundareshwar lacks the earthiness, that lived in flavour; feels more like a designer dressing up with a few exotic herbs thrown in, you know, just for the heck of it.
Are you one of those who go to a buffet, see the mind-boggling varieties, get royally confused, and lose your appetite in the bargain?
I have a similar situation with OTT, which in my humble opinion is suffering a serious OTT syndrome. Too much content, is regularly ‘Over The Top’ with a constant ‘Overload Them Twits’ philosophy.
Still, every day, I diligently plate up and most often finish eating too, even before I zero upon the content to watch.
I end up leaving serials halfway through, barely managing to completely watch a picture but still dragging me to complete what I started. One such flick was Meenakshi Sundareshwar. The lengths I go to punish myself, I tell you!
Firstly, let me establish my credentials to get offended by what the movie plated up. Notwithstanding my last name being ‘Jain’, I am a true blue ‘Andhrite’, a ‘Madraasi’, a ‘Hydraabaadi’ (take you pick – whatever you call us South Indians!), who then found a Jain to marry and made him a convert.
Secondly, let me assure you that this is not a ‘review’ of the movie Meenakshi Sundareshwar (Meenakshi-Sundareswarar actually, but that’s a phonetic whine – for another day!).
I will not say that Sanya Malhotra as Meenakshi is free-flowing and engaging while Abhimanyu (Dassani) who plays Sundareshwar (Sundareswarar – can’t help it!) is tepidly captivating, like a warmish broth on a sunny afternoon. You will appreciate it, but wouldn’t miss it much.
I will not bore you with how grating it is to see a grown man get ready for marriage while still receiving pocket money from the patriarch. Or how a lass who wants to make a big difference by joining a small business, say yes to her groom after a silly inner-view, and then spends time moping for him instead of going good about her career promise.
I will also not confess that the caricature of a weird boss did knock my socks off.
I promise not to comment about the loose threads galore. Will the boy finally land a job? Will the girl hang on to her newfound feminism? Will the much-maligned, paying for their daily meals, family Saree business get its due respect? Or will the ex find closure?
I will not diss how gobsmackingly unbelievable it is to see a grown woman go nuts watching a Thalaivva flick that got universally panned. Research, Bro, research Bro! Always works.
But seriously, can North Indians stop making flaky flicks about South Indians, played by obvious looking North Indians and pass them off as the real deal?
Their Bollywoodian version of us Down-Vindhyans lacks the earthiness, that lived in flavour; feels more like a designer dressing up with a few exotic herbs thrown in, you know, just for the heck of it.
More like a violent marriage of Chicken Tikka Masala with Tomato Rasam.
Firstly, there are 5 states, not 2, and not just Tamil Nadu. I am itching to dare the Bollywoodian Next-Gen to identify these 5 on the Indian Political Map, but hey that borders on nitpicking, wouldn’t it?
Thirdly, just because we are South Indians, we don’t always move around in Zari Sarees and brocade blouses, our necks drooping with heavy-duty gold pieces. Haven’t the makers heard about the ubiquitous ‘nightie’?
Not all roam around in spotless white lungis either! (Only politicians.)
Nor is Mogra (or Malle Puvvu) is our go-to flower! We’ve sent enough peeps abroad to get culturally corrupted.
Also, we don’t eat our daily meals in full set copper dinnerware. Just imagine the amount of ‘Pitambari’ (THE cleaning powder for copper vessels) that will get finished per meal! This supposedly traditional dinner set is so ‘Naivedhyam’ inspired! (An eatery in NCR with multiple outlets where the cooks from Bengal and Orissa serve up Haryanvi Samb(h)ar! Uff!) Haven’t the makers heard about Salem Steel?
Dudes of Bollywood, Mess eating is so passé, and not every Brahmanical Beti is breaking bad by going non-veggie! There are other ways to mess up the parenting system I promise you!
Lastly, Venkateshwara Suprabhatam (in that divine dulcet voice of M.S.Subbalakshmi, God bless her soul) is a Prabahata Sewa prayer. A prayer to wake up the lord from his overnight slumber. Not an Aarti Song, sung simultaneously across multiple homes. I have woken up to it all my childhood, as my father believes that early to bed and early to rise, gets the juiciest of worms. He forgot the singular fact, we are vegetarians.
Probably employing a South-Indian Way-Of-Life Consultant would have been worth the expense.
But it is an ‘Of the South-Indians, By the North-Indians, For the Indians’ initiative isn’t it? Too ‘Dharma-tic’, by the one and only Karan Johar – but he is anyway the master of soft focus misrepresentation.
Well, as always, logic already left the chat! Gimme a vintage Ranveer Brar any day! More palatable. Less complicated.
See Pelli Choopulu, a National-Award winning Telugu movie instead. Similar premise, better execution!
#netflix #MeenakshiSundershwar #Dharmatic
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Anupama Jain is the author of
* ‘When Padma Bani Paula', listed as 'One of the 5 best books of 2018 - Fiction', by readwriteinspire.com. It is a breezy novel about second chances of life and read more...
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I watched a Tamil movie Kadaisi Vivasayi (The Last Farmer), recommended by my dad, on SonlyLiv, and many times over again since my first watch. If not for him, I’d have had no idea what I would have missed. What a piece of relevant and much needed art this movie is!
It is about an old farmer in a village (the only indigenous farmer left), who walks the path of trouble, quite unexpectedly, and tries to come out of it. I have tried my best to refrain from leaving spoilers, for I want the readers to certainly catch up on this masterpiece of director Manikandan (of Kakka Muttai fame).
The movie revolves around the farmer who goes about doing his everyday chores, sweeping his mud-house first thing in the morning, grazing the cows, etc and living a simple but contented life. He is happy doing his thing, until he invites trouble for himself out of the blue, primarily because he is illiterate and ignorant.