By Meera
That hot steaming kiss of Naan Sigappu Manithan, Naan Sigappu Manidhan, Vishal


Iranian movies are prohibited from showcasing any public display of affection. The tenets of the Islamic code prevent all forms of contact between a male and a female actor. In India though there are no such laws.

Bollywood has raced ahead to stay in tune with the urban populace and the socializing fold that the current generation has willingly enveloped. Sexual taboos are shattered, A-list stars are oblivious and as a result, we are seeing pre-marital, extra marital, no marital as well as marital carnality between consenting adults. There is smooching, lip locking, pure smoldering Jism like appeal that some movies brazenly flaunt. Yet in Tamil cinema we are still meandering around this honest display of passion. Are we conservative, ignorant or simply in denial?

This is not to say that Tamil movies steer clear of PDA. Kamal Hassan singlehandedly challenged this outdated norm of closing in on two flowers or focusing on a night lamp with every film. Some like the one in Punnagai Mannan, where Rekha and Kamal are jumping to their deaths and share that last embrace with a kiss, are warranted while others are meant to titillate and merely serve as crowd pullers. Yet as a star, Kamal shuns the regime of tirelessly justifying every lip lock.

There are other directors like Mani Ratnam who have artfully gotten around this vice with the censors. In Guru, Madhavan and Vidya kiss with the skies sending their blessing, Siddharth and Trisha peck in Ayutha Ezhuthu, Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala steam up the theater in Bombay et al. Even in his earlier films like Agni Natchathiram, Mani Ratnam portrayed physical intimacy as a natural manifestation of a young lover’s desire. Thus the sensuous striking picturization of Vaa Vaa Anbe Anbe that was bold yet poignant.

While some stars and film makers are able to cross this bridge with no qualms why do the rest feel the need to warp about a kissing scene being a scripting requisite. Why do we expect our heroines and heroes to proclaim that it was the banality of the story and not a personal choice? (When was it ever a personal choice?) Should heroines choose to act in urbane movies only after this sequence has been canned? What about Revathy, Suhasini or Trisha who were able to adeptly walk this tight rope?

Naan Sigappu Manithan that released last weekend has an underwater lip lock. Lakshmi Menon who was so far seen as the village belle has transformed into a metro chic. The movie pivots on this scene and both the stars have executed the task artfully. While there is no denial in the requirement of this scene in the movie the argument itself is void when today’s soap operas and reality shows prance around live in relationships and teen romances. It is necessary to exercise caution when we are making a movie but it should be a guiding principle and not a strict decree. As a nation that prides itself in housing the monument of love so should our cinema be able to explore all aspects of love without inhibition and the need to repeatedly box itself into successful mantras. How else will we be prized with masterpieces that tide over time and remain in our memories forever?

Written by Meera | @meeraramanathan

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