On how Pandiraj challenges gender stereotypes, Pandiraj, Siva Karthikeyan, Vemal, Kedi Billa Killadi


Director Pandiraj’s latest Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga is being lapped by the audience in this season which reiterates the fact that humor is the most sought after safe bet in terms of revenue and review. Not only that, in the current living condition where we find the majority of the populace strapped tightly to stress, Pandiraj in his own characteristic manner frees his audience from the clutches of their unexciting everyday rigmarole albeit for a short time.

Another factor that generally works for Pandiraj’s films is his family friendly subjects. One can easily make the trip to the theatre accompanied by all the members of the family and this becomes significant especially at a time when such features are slowly getting fossilized.

Although KBKR had the usual laugh worthy moments that are quite common to films of such genre, there are a couple of sparkles that stood out which made Pandiraj’s writing a delectable one.

Tamil cinema, has remained true to its androcratic dominance since its genesis where only the male characters possessed the prerogative and  wholesome rights to slap a woman or bash her up. It is quite accepted and later in the film, the lady would always be shown very magnanimous in forgiving this insult of hers and would sometimes appear quite chirpy to have accepted the thrashing. Weird indeed but self respect and words of such meaning are practically defunct in such a premise and it worked only from one point of view.    

In rare instances when women are shown in the reverse roles as that of beating the men in the film or acting rather confident, it would definitely have been attributed to some kind of anomaly, either physical or mental on the part of the damsel who executed those blows. Or a final climax where she will be shown to have mended her ways (!) for the good with an apology to the man that she has understood her mistake (!), sometimes even falling at his feet!!! Such writing was quite normal and none complained.

In KBKR, it is a different canvas that Pandiraj so nonchalantly paints in the form of his women characters especially Mithra Meenalochani played by Bindu Madhavi. The frail nymphet gives solid blows to her lover, yes lover, and not some adversary of hers. (In a different breath, a man of interest  may also be an adversary, depends on which side you are!)

The kicks that she strikes at Vemal, swimming in air with gravity defying acrobats, give serious complexes to professionals but are a sure delight to watch and you start wondering if you are watching a Tamil film. And more so, this is not a one-off case or scene that Pandiraj has written for the film. There were more to follow and in a scene where Mithra feigns remorse to Kesavan only to jump with better ammunition to beat him hollow and blue is something of a pleasant shocker to the audience. And mind you it’s just not her but her mom and her grand mom as well who take to such physicality with vim and vigor at their male mates.

The best thing about this is, Pandiraj is not a tad apologetic about this ‘aberration’ of a Tamil ‘ponnu’ and thankfully, he has not made a volte face of the character in the end. Mithra’s father is shown to accept this nature of his women folk with a matter-of-fact approach you otherwise encounter in women characters of normal films, something analogous to ‘kallaanaalum kanavan, pullanaalum purushan’. He even advises Vemal that it’s after all at the hands of one’s own wife and daughter that you are getting beaten up; why all the fuss then. Quite  a sensible composure, right?

Elsewhere in the film, Pandiraj, through the character of Siva Karthikeyan who is ‘adam teased’ by a girl who winks at him, says ‘neenga ellam annan thambiyoda porakkaliaa”, a dialogue which has been milked dry umpteen number of times by women in distress since time immemorial in our films. Now this is definitely interesting and it does not one bit appear like a spoof and I don’t think Pandiraj intended to be that way too. Siva Karthikeyan certainly feels bad to be ragged and tormented and he voices his anguish like any other girl who gets bullied, period!

And when a question as to how Siva Karthikeyan and his lover Regina would lead a trouble free life post marriage especially when he is a complete wastrel and has no inkling to make anything fruitful out of his life, the fitting reply from him is that since Regina is the bread winner she is sure to keep him ‘tear free’ (kan kalangaama). Now if this is not breaking barriers, what else would be?

Once in a cheesy moon in Tamil films, we come across such sparks and Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga is one. And it sure feels good to witness an occasional different but intelligent writing that is refreshing too. Good one Pandiraj!

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