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Romance the Vijay Sethupathi style

In my recent interaction with Kaakka Muttai director Manikandan, to a question about what kind of stories he would like to narrate through his films, the acclaimed director stated, “Man-Woman relationships have never been properly conveyed in our films. I would like to tell those stories as honestly as possible”.

I could not agree with him more. In fact, researchers all over the world have opined that the most complicated thing in this universe is the man-woman relationship.

When we look at films that are being churned out on this complex relationship between a man and woman and on the so called emotion ‘LOVE’, you wonder who are these people in ‘love’ and where do they come from. Do we encounter such men and women in our life? To borrow Radha Mohan’s thought, “Where are those ‘much deeply in love’ pannaiyaar ponnunga and the lucky temple beggars?!!!”.

Seldom does an affluent or a well educated woman/man in real life would give heed to someone of the opposite gender with an idea of a serious/permanent commitment. There are flippancy and shallowness when it comes to dealing with a fine emotion, such as love, in cinema.

That said, there are a few films wherein we do (fortunately) get to see a plausible emotional connect between a man and a woman inhabiting two different corners of the social spectrum as well.

In Nalan Kumarasamy’s Kadhalum Kadanthu Pogum, the relationship between the leads Vijay Sethupathi, a small time rowdy and Madonna Sebastian, an IT graduate, has been dealt with in a very believable manner. It is not ‘love at first sight’ or the ‘bell ringing’ moment or the umpteen clichéd unrealistic sequences that we normally get to see in our films between the hero and the heroine. In fact their first meeting starts off with a very normal real incident when Sethupathi does not even want to help Madonna and lets her fend for herself. He does not make an attempt to know her name or impress her. Even if he gets her food, he does not forget to take money from her. He steals her umbrella. In short, he does not check-in any of the boxes that a normal hero would have done gallantly. The hero and heroine are thrown together, thanks to their circumstances but are not interested in each other. They have their own problems to handle.

For Vijay Sethupathi, Madonna is his neighbor who has a goal and he just wants to help her. Period! He gets her the job with his weird antics unmindful of a return gift. It is a very normal act for him. Later he moves on and so does she. They don’t break into a melancholic number or hit the bottle or sport a beard upon not seeing each other, but on the contrary get on with their respective lives. There is no train station climax sequence wherein they glide towards each other in slo-mo shots pushing people on the way, tumbling and falling all over!!!!


It is a realistic, normal life of two REAL individuals we get to see in KKP but with a lot of subtlety in portraying a man-woman relationship.


On the other hand, there’s Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (NRD) that dealt with love in a matured fashion. Incidentally Vijay Sethupathi is again the lead here!!!!


Of course, in NRD, it is physical attraction first followed by sympathy. But eventually, the emotion that drives the hero is that of unadulterated REAL love. He does not proclaim this from the roof top or scream his head off. He cares for Nayan and is averse to see her in despair under any circumstances. He even goes to the extent of hiding her dad’s death from her. When his friend asks him if he is in love with Nayanthara, Sethupathi says, “அதெல்லாம் தெரியாது, ஆனா அவ ஹேப்பியா இருக்கணும்" (Adhellam theriyaadhu, aana ava happy aa irukkanum). If this is not love, what else is?

He says, “நீ கண்ட கனவேதும் கலைய கூடாதே, நான் இருக்கும் நாள் வரைக்கும் நீ அழுக கூடாதே" (Nee Kanda Kanavedhum Kalaya Koodathey, Naan Irukkum Naal Varaikkum Nee Azhuga Koodathey). He wants her to realize her dreams and does not want her to cry as long as he is there. I guess that sums it all!!!!


Love in true sense is never conditional or judgmental or possessive. And in more than one way, KKP and NRD demonstrate that.


More to such beautiful realistic take on LOVE…


Jyothsna Bhavanishankar



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