Adapting to the Indulekha model

Indulekha is a brand that has been churning out so many TVCs recently for their product range. The first series of their advertisements featured popular mini and big screen actors, which was followed up by another series that had ‘reality TV’ sort of feel to it. Their latest series even has a theme and name – uLkkarutthu – and contrary to the direct selling strategy, they have adopted a model that is ‘seemingly’ progressive and feminist in the outset but is pushing certain politics which seems to be the trick of new age marketers and advertising gurus to keep them in business. More on this advt in Kafila and Nalamidam. And do watch the first video of their series here before you read further.

I was thinking what would happen if other businesses have started adopting the Indulekha model. Imagine a barber who cannot afford to have men who do not cut their hair. This will certainly threaten his regular business. So what he really needs to ask for is business but in the new age, he cannot be too direct with it so he has to push certain politics to market his service. And here is what happens when he adopts the Indulekha model.

Menses justifies polygamy?

Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker MusaliarIt is very common that religion being used for all the wrong purposes when it could have helped to enhance the lives of weak and the oppressed. Most of the times it would be the priests or clerics from a religion who would be misinterpreting the Holy Books to sustain their own interests and misleading the others within the community. The latest controversy about a comment from the senior Muslim cleric Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliar on polygamy shows that this trend still continues. Kanthapuram reportedly have said this: A second wife is biologically justified. Women’s menstrual cycle prevents them from sexual contact for 5-6 days.

His statement came in the backdrop of a state law reforms commission has come out with a draft bill to check polygamy and divorce by Talaq. The bill seeks that ‘monogamy shall be the rule’ and that ‘marrying again during the lifetime of husband or wife is an offence.’

The proposed bill wants that “if any married Muslim, man or woman, marries again during the subsistence of the first marriage, the party who violates shall be guilty of bigamy under the IPC and punishable as such.

Continue reading Menses justifies polygamy?

Padmarajan’s Clara – Part II

[ This post is the second of a two-part post that tries to explain how Clara (from the movie Thoovaanathumpikal by Padmarajan) stands out as one of the most powerful woman characters of Malayalam cinema. The first part is here. ]


[Continued from here]

Clara begins to give shock treatments to Jayakrishnan’s ego from the night they first make love. She tells him that she already knew that Jayakrishnan was not whom he pretended to be. Perhaps it did not matter to her whether ‘He’ is a Jayakrishnan or a Punnoose as she is all prepared to see more of such faces in her life to come. But she is amused by Jayakrishnan’s honesty in love when he proposes to her. She could easily say “yes” to him, but she doesn’t say that. Here she leaves it for us to guess. Is it because she thought that it could be just a result of their physical union? Or is it because she thought that she wouldn’t fit into Jayakrishnan’s world, considering his social and family status? Or is it because she was ambitious and did not want to end up with the role of a mistress at that time? It could be either one of these or all. We don’t know.

Clara leaves the place in silence, in the next morning when Jayakrishnan is not around. She doesn’t want to stay even after Jayakrishnan says that his proposal was not prompted by previous night’s boozing and he is serious about it. We see a shattered Jayakrishnan standing in the empty hotel room after he realizes that Clara has left. He just lost the first woman he ever loved, had sex with, whom he wanted to make his partner for life. At this moment, Clara becomes the most complex and over-powering character of the film than Jayakrishnan.

After some days, Jayakrishnan receives a telegram message from Clara. There is rain in the backdrop which reminds him of Clara. The message says that Clara is coming to town and would like to meet him. By this time Jayakrishnan had fallen in love with another woman – Radha – who is a modern and educated girl. Even though his love for Radha has grown stronger, nothing can stop Jayakrishnan from meeting Clara. So he meets her in the railway station in an early morning, they take a walk around the town and spends a night together. Clara is a little sentimental this time.

Continue reading Padmarajan’s Clara – Part II

Padmarajan’s Clara – Part I

[ I am a great admirer of writer-scriptwriter-director Padmarajan’s movies like any other Malayali. After watching his movie Thoovaanathumpikal, I was fascinated by it’s leading lady character Clara. This post is the first of a two-part post that tries to explain how Clara stands out as one of the most powerful woman characters of Malayalam cinema ]

Padmarajan is a director who has given some of the best on-screen characters of Malayalam cinema. Female characters have important roles to play in his films but not at the cost of side-lining the male characters; just like any other typical commercial movies of our times. However, there are a couple of movies in which he portrayed some of the most powerful women characters of Malayalam cinema. And I think Clara, the prostitute from the movie Thoovaanathumpikal, stands out from the rest and is one of the most powerful women characters of Malayalam cinema to the date.

Thoovaanathumpikal (meaning Butterflies in the Spraying Rain) is a much talked about film of Padmarajan where the praises have gone to actor Mohan Lal for his portrayal of Jayakrishnan, a man with complex characteristics (and Mohan Lal has done his job perfectly well). But very little has been written about it’s women characters – Radha (played by Parvathi) and Clara (played by Sumalatha) – but they are proof of Padmarajan’s craftsmanship.

Padmarajan’s Clara is not a typical woman character usually portrayed in Malayalam cinema (or Indian cinema). Clara is not a shy village girl who would surrender herself in love before a man and then would spend her entire life in grief if she was cheated. Here Clara is an exact opposite to the female lead of Padmarajan’s another movie, Novemberinte Nashtam. The leading girl of Novemberinte Nashtam is a happy-go-lucky girl who falls in love with a man who uses her only for the physical pleasure and leaves her in a mental shock which in turn makes her a murderer. But Clara is very practical and ambitious. She chooses the way of prostitution to save herself from her step mother, but she does not want to end up with a pimp who would extract money out of her. She even manages to get Jayakrishnan, the male protagonist, like a firefly to the light, but she doesn’t want to be the reason for his misery. In Thoovaanathumpikal, Clara does not appear throughout the movie but it is she who drives the whole story.

Continue reading Padmarajan’s Clara – Part I