The rebels of Tamil cinema (Shoba Narayan, LiveMint, December 27, 2014)

As someone who has watched and tracked Tamil movies all her life, one of the things I notice is the fall of the heroine. There are exceptions, but by and large, Tamil films these days are hero-oriented, action films with a thin storyline. Women play the love interest, or dance an item number, withRajinikanth’s Lingaa being the latest example.
It wasn’t always like this. Directors like Balu Mahendra, Bharathiraja, Bhagyaraj, and most particularly, K. Balachander, who died on 23 December, made films that were centred around women. Where are directors like that today?
Chennai in the 1970s was a mixture of conservatism and oddball eccentrics. Girls couldn’t walk down the street in jeans without getting disapproving stares. But it was perfectly okay for a man to be married to two sisters. This triumvirate lived down the street from my aunt’s home in T Nagar. It gets weirder. They had sublet their downstairs apartment to the milkman, who chose to house his buffaloes in the flat and live in his ramshackle hut….

from Pocket

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