Ponmagal Vendraal – Movie Review
After the huge success of India’s first Tamil movie that had a direct OTT release surpassing traditional Theatrical release, Actor Surya’s 2D Entertainment bankrolled “Ponmagal Vandhal" - PV1 (Amazon refuses to share the number of views or the Revenues made) feat. Jyothika along with a host of actors including 6 former Directors, the lead Actress takes a proud and a bold move yet again in her latest outing Ponmagal Vendral (PV2) which had a direct OTT release earlier this week. Director JJ Fredrick has spun the screenplay montaging into her past with a new set of casts save for K. Bagyaraj who plays her foster father in PV1. Ace composer Santhosh Narayan has replaced Govind Vasantha as Music Director and has belted 5 amazing numbers which have already become chartbusters. Cameraman Ramji shows the true rustic places of Udumalpet in Coimbatore District and its surrounding rural areas where the film has been predominantly shot. Surya in a Cameo was a pleasant surprise. Jyothika’s solo number reminds us of her similar song from the film Dum Dum Dum which released in 2001.
PV2 is a widow’s relentless fight for justice just like how the protagonist brought to light the unfortunate rising cases of Child abuse in India through a thought provoking Court Room Drama in her previous outing PV1 in which she raised concerns of Baby Asifa Bano who was mercilessly abused and killed inside a Hindu Temple in Kashmir. Although many children, both genders included, women across all age groups including Senior Citizens, Nuns and even Men get abused every passing day in India, Jyothika specifically and repeatedly mentioned one Child’s name as a reference in the Court Room which received thunderous applause at theatres (!!!) and a lot of love, affection and support from people across strata for her (selective) bold attitude in raising concerns on behalf of the society. Similarly, she gained a lot of acclaim for her earlier comments at an Awards Event that money was being donated to temples which could instead be used to build hospitals and healthcare for the poor and needy. What an idea, Madam ji?!?!
Many argued that why would the Celebrity couple & 2D Entertainment produce a film for several crores (and sell it eventually to Amazon as a desperate move) to highlight the plight of Child Abuse – a short film or even a personalised video message on social media, especially from the confines of their homes could have raised as much or more awareness to the pressing issues. But then, in this "Business of Entertainment", along with sharing views about the societal flaws (recall climax scene advisory in Thaana Serndha Kootam or NGK or making a mockery of the Akshaya Patra in Jackpot, kicking it off her left leg), there is also money to be made, after all.
Further, these could be steppingstones to a fledgling Political Career in future for aspiring Actors & Actresses. So, let it be that some of these artists would convey “messages” and Awareness campaigns through their films but in real life, would move off quietly to their hometowns to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Kongu region to stay off the glare and scare of the dreaded Corona Virus! Fans who set-up sky-high cutouts for their films are left in the lurch and no hospitals were set-up or the poor & needy funded with the income from PV1.
Kausalya had a love-marriage with Shankar who belonged to a different caste. For this act of disrespect towards another cast and community, Shankar was lynched in full public view on 12 Mar. ‘16 near Udumalpet Bus Terminus. The assailants were immediately arrested and remanded in custody. The case went on for a few years and on 23rd June 2020, Kausalya’s parents were acquitted by the Hon’ble Madras High Court while the others directly involved in the case were convicted on various charges. Jyothika has essayed her role similar to that of Kausalya and takes up her grouse against her own parents who were purportedly behind the killing of Shankar by taking up the case to higher courts in India where she finally wins justice for her husband. In reel, of course. Several Dalit Activists of India play cameos right from the scenes in Police Stations to Court Rooms and one of the Advocates is a popular Lawyer turned politician in Tamil Nadu.
Ahead of its release, the film faced stiff resistance and opposition from two factions – Film Distributors & Exhibitors who refused to release the film in theatres since PV1 had a direct OTT release bypassing their screens; certain caste groups were up and against the film’s story & screenplay as it’s against their ethos and belief systems. However, Surya & Jyothika stayed calm and took the storm on its face. This is not the first time the celebrated couple have faced flak and such challenges in their professional film career.
More power to them for bringing to public attention the unfortunate case of honour killings in India, especially in Southern TN. In fact, this is not the first such film to showcase this malaise which is especially popular in Tamil Nadu.
This was my maiden attempt in writing a satire. Such a film was never released nor will ever release. Many Actor's community standards will not allow them to take such a bold outing. but bashing selectively against a particular community is fashionable and wins them handful of accolades. Like how Atlee won claps for the scene when Jackie gets skinned in Bigil.
However, as fictitious that movies are, why can't amateur writers like me be fiercely fictitious in our reviews? Most Actors perform for the Fee they take and are done with it, spanning a career ranging from a few months longing up to a few decades. However, the so-called pseudo socialistic ones prefer to selective echo the challenges in our systems which make us feel awkward for the hero worship and adulation they enjoy. While I am no one to question how much did the producer earn for showcasing PV1 on Amazon, would they open up in showcasing the money spent for noble causes such as "child rights" or "POSH"?
I continue to live in a world & life of utopia even as I am getting ready with popcorn for the weekend binge. Just wondering which language. What's wrong I say?