‘Taramani’ review: a film that tries to do too much

Updated - August 12, 2017 11:58 am IST

Published - August 11, 2017 05:50 pm IST

Ram’s  Taramani  was one of the most eagerly awaited films of this year, mostly because his first film,  Katradhu Thamizh , received overwhelming praise and criticism in equal measure, for the way it represented (or misrepresented) those working in the IT sector.  Taramani  was expected to be a film that critiques the life of the IT engineers and those who live on the periphery of this IT industry through, perhaps, a Marxist lens.

The narrative follows Althiya (Andrea Jeremiah) and Prabhunath (Vasanth Ravi) – one a successful HR professional and other a wailing youth wasting away his life because his girlfriend dumped him. Through their courtship, the film unapologetically tries to connect killing of Tamil fishermen, nationalism associated with cricket, male sexuality, unbridled urbanisation, police brutality, demonetisation and so on.

At times, Ram gives a voiceover to move the story forward and tries to give context – but either ways, it appears overdone. Yet, there are themes that one hopes that this film, which tackles modern relationships in a liberal-capitalist set up, represented in a much more holistic manner. For instance, there’s a typical creepy male boss who harasses Andrea... as if to suggest that women being forced against their will for favours is not down to individual male behaviour but a basic constituent of transactional corporate lifestyle.

The question is this: have women in our homes never been forced against their will to satisfy men? There’s another character – played by Sarah George – whose husband appears at least two decades older than her, who says ‘I like watching her dance with others’. Are such convenient relationships only a hallmark of the IT industry?

All said and done, the film boasts some natural actors. This is perhaps Andrea Jeremiah best role till date; she is excellent as a single working mother who, despite constantly battling the prowling eyes of men around her, walks around wearing clothes she is comfortable in. Debutant Vasanth Ravi has a good outing in his debut. However, the film belongs to director Ram who, at the end of the film, admits that his voice-overs need to be treated like Facebook status updates – personal and political, relevant and irrelevant.


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