Thursday, 4 October 2018

Atharkku Thaga: Be the fourth person

Some narratives stay with us creating an impact subtly rooting to our foundations and reconsider the functionalities of the ecosystem we affiliate to. It could be the society, a classroom, a friends' circle, relatives - our system. Why not, it could even be a gated community where sharing split seconds of a smile is a desert's rain.

We've, knowingly or unknowingly, always lived half our lives for the sake of this ecosystem that does not even know the depths of the emotions we go through. Speaking in the first-person account, my first second-person(s) in this structure are my parents with whom I share most of my emotions. The drama and the conversations that we have between 'us' is believed to be influenced by the third person in the ecosystem.

So, in such a societal tendency, what we should be having is a fourth person perspective. What if we see it as someone who does not even belong to that construct. Ashwanth Kumar's 27-minute short film Atharkku Thaga puts us in that place, the 'fourth person'.

The plot and the premise of this film is nothing new to us - consequences faced by a girl after involving in a premarital intercourse. When I say the consequence is only for the girl, why does not the guy who is equally responsible for the act isn't getting victimised, could be the question. He is not cheating on her, he isn't leaving her, standing by her neither. He thinks himself to be helpless ultimately making his girl one.

But, why is she alone the cursed one? Because that's how every 'she' has always been. And, we realise it when we wear the fourth person's goggles.

Apparently, Atharku Thaga does not preach us anything. There is no declaration about what is right or wrong. I should say it has not even tried to justify a premarital sex. All that it just shows us is a series of events happening in some random family and how the girl in it struggles to debrief her emotion to her family. The filmmaker leaves it to us, to make a decision.

For an instance, in the last scene, the girl's father gives different responses to each of his colleague of which nothing is fake. In that scene, we see some of his co-workers who do not have an idea about his personal life. Of all one of them asks wasn't he having a son but not a daughter.

That is what I infer as the self-explanatory vindication about the society, Ashwanth gives. The ecosystem does not have time to peep into everyone's life. No one knows about what is going on in our lives completely. Not even the ones in the second-person. Our life is a matter of first-person account, and it is us who have to decide the proceedings of it. So, live atharkku thaga (as it is meant to be).

When the girl's father says 'Veliya thala kaata mudiyaatha maathiri pannita', we, when looking at this from a distant exposition, feel the sad reality that we are all coexisting with. This fear, we all have is what that has to be broken as Ashwanth says.

With so much moral explanations and interpretations, Atharkku Thaga could have been still more precise in communication. There are certain scenes where feel it amateurish due to feeble performances by the cast. The makers could have taken some more time to rehearse. Nevertheless, the transitions shown by Raja Rani Pandian and the girl who played the lead role in the pre-climax elevate the emotional quotient of the narration on the whole.

Going back to the first line of this review, there are some narratives that stay with us creating an impact subtly rooting to reframe our societal structure. This one is firmly making that impact.

To watch Atharkku Thaga, check YouTube or click here.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, October 4, 2018.

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.