Saturday, 16 December 2017

My Son Is Gay: Empathy Matters A Lot

It was a special moment for the cast and the crew of My son is gay (En Magan Magizhvan) by Lokesh a movie that came under special screening category at the 15th Chennai International Film Festival. The movie that is waiting for its theatrical release, positively in a couple of months, was screened at the film festival. Here is a review ahead of the time. I swear this is totally spoiler free.

It's a hardly seen and discussed subject with respect to Tamil cinema. Except for a few movies like Goa and Taramani, that had references to gay relationships and some movies that had humiliating dialogues like "Avana nee?" on homosexuality, this movie En Magan Magizhvan is, so far, the first full-length Tamil film on the subject.

The crux of En Magan Magizhvan is an emotional debate between two extremes. While one extreme has three competitors, ego, ignorance and attitude falling in an alliance. While, the opposite extreme is simply a one competitor end that is 'empathy.' Having such a debate over a gay relationship on one side, this movie's selling point is that, it has no vulgarity at all when comparing to other films on the same subject. Moreover, it literally has a lot of deep details on the emotional values, we have to show towards a guy who is gay.

There are two important conversations in the movie of which one is between the characters Lakshmi and Ashwinjith, while the other is between Gopi and Lakshmi, again. It's these two conversations, that establish the strong base for the debate that the movie proposes. Moreover, this debate, metaphorically, should have been written keeping in mind, the entire society that is not ready to accept the LGBT community as its subset.

While there is one more scene that shows a psychiatrist elaborating on the definition and emotions of LGBT community and the support they need. This definition of the psychiatrist is the key take away of the movie for any random spectator.

In terms of ignorance vs acceptation, the movie has a conversation among three friends of which one is a girl. In this conversation, there is a dialogue from a guy to that girl, "Unaku yenna nee ponnu..." This is one more scene where the stereotype of the society is again referred by the director, metaphorically. There is also a dialogue, "Unnoda society is your parents and friends alone. Avanga unna purinjukitta pothum", which comes up a motivation not just for the LGBT community, but for all.

Though the movie is on a serious subject, the writer did not fail to blend humour with it. Despite having a very few one-liners to make everyone laugh, like 'Unaku vara pora paiyan...' and 'Enna mathiri single gays um irukaanga...', all of them have been made to fall in the right place with the utmost subtlety.

With the content being so deep, the cast has taken it a step ahead. The first to be mentioned is Anupama Kumar, who has done the role of Lakshmi. She has donned the character in such a way that, one could not match her as an alternate for this role. Be it the dialogue delivery as a super teacher, the emotions of a loving mom or the body language of an egoistic/hesitant woman, Anupama's expressions simply lifts the crux of En Magan Magizhvan to next level. For me personally, the scene where she deeply weeps in a solitary confinement with no one else to support. And, towards the climax, the way she emotes between empathy and ego is literally exceptional, natural and of course peerless.

Then comes Ashwinjith, who has did a commendable job. In one scene where he stands outside the door and is not seen on screen, this guy has simply swept the audience off with the combo of weep-cum-dialogue. One more promising talent on the way.

Though he has a very few scenes to appear, the importance of Kishore and the dialogues he speaks in a specific conversation makes his role pivotal. And, as usual, he has done it in style with controlled emotions which he usually does.

The special mention for this movie goes to Jayaprakash, who has done his by-default-subtle-acting.
There are two more people in the cast Maya and Abhishek, who have done a brilliant job though seen in a few scenes. Being a gymnast by nature, Maya has a small talent expo too.

For Lokesh, who is a newbie and a youngster, the subject he has taken into the discussion is kind of deep for his age. But, the way he has made this film simply shows him as a mature filmmaker. The references he has given to connect the daily fed goldfish and the poster on relationship stuck behind the fish tank is one brilliant sample to prove his method of film-making. This benchmark he has made with his debut venture has given a confidence that Tamil cinema has one more filmmaker who is ready to show a bigger picture. Hope he sustains that. And the debate he has scripted in this movie between empathy and the three allies is still incomplete. Well, to be more precise, it is let to the discussion of those few persons who know us closely, 'the society'.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, Dec 17, 2017.

This viewer's note is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.