A bird’s eye view of mental health awareness in Tamil cinema.
Anniyan is just another movie in ‘Yezhuthu Rakshasar’ Sujatha Rengaranjan – Creative Director Shankar combo. But this one isn’t a review exactly. A shift in perspective. The movie was released in the year 2005. The movie cannot be put in the usual category ‘Good vibes’ as it is a psycho thriller. When compared to many other Hollywood movies revolving around serial killers this movie might seem nothing. But Anniyan is good in its own style.
Wikipedia is the default reference page to start with and to know the general details on any content. To scroll down the wiki page of Anniyan movie it can easily take 15-20 minutes just for a dry run. One of the pain staking pages ever read with change of technicians of various portfolios involved in the movie. Kudos to Shankar and team (which happened to fluctuate) for their efforts on each and every frame, massive sets, graphics, Anniyan website designing, art direction, camera and of course acting.
As one hits the bottom of wiki page of Anniyan movie, thoughts are likely to be absolutely messy all around owing to the data limit exceedance to assimilate all the technical details about the movie. At least for myself. Should write about VFX effects, website design programming involved. No. Should write about casting and acting of Vikram. Vivek, Prakashraj, Sadha. Nay. Should mention details on Garuda Purana. Should not miss the locations where songs were shot. Should go for a research on lyrical value of the lyrics written by Vairamuthu, Na.Muthukumar and Kabilan. Should tell about the semi classical duets, ultra-modern item number, folk numbers, BGM by Harris Jayaraj. Not to miss the mélange of first pancha ratna kriti of Thyagaraja and the duet; duly shot in the sets of Mahabalipuram and efforts put on directing the scene. Or should state the fight sequence where many stunt artists were badly injured? Or should this be written as a comparative study between Sidney Sheldon’s ‘Tell me your dreams’? ex cetera. And finally drop the thought of writing about this movie. Messy, cramped thoughts all at once are very common for any topic on this earth.
To write about this movie covering all details is like ‘Had to launch a rocket with 250 satellites all to be exactly put in their respective orbits at the same time without any deviation even in fermi seconds’. Ah breath taking read even for the wiki page. Remembered Rajni’s dialogue in the movie Chandramukhi. “Ganga va Chandramukhi tendhu pirikka, psychosis lendhu pudhiya muraiya kaiyala poren”. Schizophrenia coupled with depression case that was. What details to take for the movie and what to leave? How to put it in a readable way?
While aiming for something great; need to appreciate the minute details more, to enjoy the journey to the fullest. Just concentrating primarily only on the basic needs to feel at peace; something like to ease in the loo without constipation, eating food on time, drinking enough water, sleeping at once as one hits the bed. All inspiration from the legend Sujatha Rangarajan, who wrote dialogues for the movie. Go for. ‘PROGRESSIVE COMPROMISE’. The only way to write about this kind of movie when one is overwhelmed by technical details.
So with that as the motivation, the movie in short is all about suppressing realistic and natural human emotions and the imbalance in coping mechanisms and lesser inclination to accept things.
Vikram as Ambi, Remo, Anniyan shows distinct variation in his multiple personalities fantastically. It is common to have multi-dimensional, multiple interests in life. But as the proverb, ‘அளவுக்குமிஞ்சினால் அமிர்தமும் நஞ்சு’ says about the multiple personality disorder precisely. Most of the mental health issues dates back to childhood emotional scars that are unaddressed, unhealed and deep rooted as there are less or no healthy ways to vent out emotions and children who felt neglected by parents, who are the primordial source of unconditional love; tend to take alternate sources for their survival.
Same happens with Ambi as he had been deeply affected by the death of his lovable sister which happened due to social apathy. He grows as a man who struggles to handle his emotions well and attempts suicide as his love gets rejected by Nandhini, which tells about his maturity and acceptance/tolerance level. He then develops a false self to impress her and gives birth to another personality Remo, a stylish model alongside with Anniyan, a serial killer of all those who fail to follow the rule book.
The script loudly speaks about corruption at all levels in different places, various men who lack basic courtesy, no sense of humanity in crisis, not being able to empathize and the hero who is inflexible and speaks rules and rules only and someone who is highly sensitive. He makes sense when he questions about the quality of food in train. That ‘5 paisa thirudina thappa’ dialogue of Sujatha strikes hard on corruption and proves that many small acts make way for a big thing. But finally it all boils down to general ethics and being self-organized without being utterly selfish.
Though as Anniyan he questions on the rules and norms of the society, practical feasibility on these aspects is utopian. Say, the eve teaser brushes girls in a bus, all girls feel like removing slippers and beat the person. At least stamp him back with her shoes heavily on his legs or hit forcefully with her elbow. Complaining to police may seem a good idea but accompanied by headache but it usually boils down to being street smart on girls’ side and being more sensible and carrying oneself as a gentle man on guys’ side.
On the flip side, the girl subjected to such a situation despite her braveness at the moment, fear resides for the next few travels in bus, some avoid bus for few days altogether. The rage accompanied with fear definitely stays for some time and all guys will be looked up as eve teasers. But effective coping mechanisms and healthy alternative should help her as many things are out of control in general and being subjected to various emotions of rage is natural.
Same applies to any situation when rules are broken, being betrayed by a partner, when encountering plagiarism with a colleague. It all boils down to individual’s conscience and effective means that one is capable of reaching out; friends or family or someone who is willing to lend an ear to stay mentally fit.
Tamil cinema has done a tremendous job in creating awareness on mental health and possible consequences. To my knowledge they are Chandramukhi (2005) on Schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder, Kadhal Konden (2003) tells about the unhealed childhood trauma, Priyamanavale (2000) is a story of recovering Vulnerable Narcissist, Mayakkam Enna (2011) tells about imbalance of emotions which goes to the level of masking the reality, 3 (2012) is about bipolar disorder.
But on a global sense at least within India, mental health isn’t taken care well. Emotional wellbeing or healing from trauma is just another option when compared to materialist desires. The general view is that being emotional or being expressive or crying is seen as a weakness. But the truth that people fail to accept that emotions remind us that we are humans. And learning to venting out them effectively is something one needs to work on in the beautiful journey called life. Thus making one more lovable and bring peace to oneself and also to all others. In experiencing various rages one is not alone. You are not alone. We are not alone.
So any emotion isn’t பேறு காலம் இல்லா கர்பம். It is just a matter of choice to vent out and reach out or to just pile it up like dirt. Barking at all without handling one’s one emotions well is like open defecation. Better way is using loo; cleaning it before and after use then and there with Harpic and using Odonil.
To conclude in Yezhuthu Rakshasar’s words from the movie “காதல் என்பது காலைக் கடன் மாதிரி. அடக்கி வைத்தால் ஆபத்து தான்”.
It isn’t just for love but for all emotions.
Belated Mental Health Awareness Month.