Dilani Rabindran



How to make your romance work. Learn from these Kollywood pairs…., Thani Oruvan, thanga magan


Someone once described my writing as the ‘dreamy fangirl’ type. I like that signature, but as dreamy as I may sometimes be I relish realism in Tamil films much more than I do the fantasy. Looking back now I appreciate the realism we saw related to relationships this year in film. It may not have been a year with many full-fledged romantic movies, but there were plenty of things we could learn about how to make it work, if you want to, with the one you love, from on screen Kollywood pairs in 2015. 
The most obvious film of the year to teach us all something about commitment and the importance of supporting each other’s ambitions in a relationship was of course O Kadhal Kanmani. Many may have taken the film to be about marriage but commitment in a real relationship is needed long before any papers are signed. Tara and Aadhi were a bubbly reminder that if you love someone you want to be with them, not just for as long as it’s convenient, but always. This doesn’t mean you’re glued at the hip or you exchange emojis all day long or you stop each other from chasing goals. Commitment means you encourage the other to pursue their dreams because you know they would do the same for you in return. Commitment means you work together to stay connected in the best ways you can even if you're physically apart from each other. For Tara and Aadhi it meant US, Paris and knowing that they were worth waiting for. OKK reminded us that as long as there’s enough love and will, there’s a way. 
Much like commitment isn’t about fidelity alone, trusting a partner means much more than 'having' faith they won’t cheat on you, as we saw in Naanum Rowdy Dhaan. Trust in a relationship means trusting in your partner’s strength and abilities as well. In NRD Paandi was wrong - he thought he knew what was best for Kadhambari and didn’t trust that she would have the ability to cope with her father’s death. In trying to delay her inevitable grief he did not trust in her strength, and in the process he destroyed her trust in him to be honest with her. We then saw the cinematic extremes he had to go to earn her faith back (WARNING: Rowdy hunting not advisable for real life health or romance). Life is unpredictable and a healthy relationship requires a person to be able to count on their partner to be honest with them no matter what the news is. NRD reminded us that trust includes believing in your partner’s strength and that whatever comes their or your way you’ll make it through together.
Speaking of being there for each other, Thani Oruvan was another great 2015 film with an enlightening look at relationships. Mithran was the macho type we’ve seen before for whom duty called, but the fact that he was honest with Mahima about his inability to partake in a loving relationship rather than make promises he would not try his best to keep was not something I expected to see in a Tamil action flick. There are some people who do not have the capacity to care for someone else when they are consumed by a goal so when the pursuit of that target gets rocky they’re more likely to become that ‘thani oruvan’ and retreat to themselves. And that’s okay as long as you can admit your inability to handle it all, like the honourable Mithran IPS. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have a partner like Mahima who can wait patiently for you to get better at balancing. The notion that true love is a hero making the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ of leaving a heroine behind because she shouldn’t have to struggle through the challenges he’s facing and should find happiness elsewhere is old-school chauvinistic filminess, and I’m glad to see Tamil cinema moving away from it. Even Mithran realized that if you love someone it means sharing the good times and the bad with them, not shutting out the world when things get tough, because a relationship is a partnership. A healthy one should also include giving each other space and individual independence too, and we saw all of that in Thani Oruvan as well; mostly because Mahima was such an awesome leading lady. 
But in reality and in film, not all love stories end in happily ever after, as we saw in Thanga Magan. Hema was right - they didn’t fall apart just because Thamizh wanted his parents to stay with them. They fell apart because after all the happy times, promises made and futures planned - Thamizh couldn’t think of things from Hema’s perspective; when it mattered most he didn’t respect her feelings. But even in this immature romance where their differences probably could have been resolved we stood to learn something about relationships - all of them require compromise and courage to make things right when disagreements occur, or even just to end things with clarity when you know they’re beyond repair. At least Thamizh made an effort to save the relationship and they eventually ended things on a clear note rather than wondering what if. In Hema and Thamizh, we saw a dreamy romance and a realistic (albeit melodramatic) break up, with plenty to learn from. 
Looking back, 2015 was a great year for love in film, both successful and not. It was refreshing to see true realism in these on-screen love tracks that gave many people something to relate to. Just remember, friends, you don’t have to be a hero or a heroine to fall in love and make it last. You just have to be a person that can be loved. 

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