The condescendingly titled Pongadi Neengalum Unga Kadhalum , directed and written by Ramakrishnan (who also plays the lead), is a difficult film to watch, leave alone review, for it is made for people still stuck in 1014 B.C. It has a deeply conservative, often frivolous, take on the way modern women live their lives and the problems they face. They are shown as promiscuous and exploitative, and the film wants us to believe that rapes happen not because men don’t understand the idea of consent but because youngsters use too much technology just for easy sex. It seems almost as if the narrative was conceived as a placeholder to carry half-truths and hasty generalisations on today’s women. There are several characters who have nothing to do with the two interconnected stories but are written into the narrative only to comment on how ‘liberal’ women are spoilt and in a way responsible for the problems they have.
It takes a while for the story to gather pace. There are actually two stories narrated simultaneously: one on the hidden motives of Divya, a rich man’s daughter, who relentlessly pursues petty thief Ramakrishnan; and another on the city police commissioner launching a manhunt for his daughter’s rapists. The two stories are somehow interlinked in the end, presumably to give the male protagonist the upper hand and make Divya ask him for forgiveness for having treated him badly. He responds by asking her to go jump, thereby justifying the film’s title.
Even when the film tries to restore some balance by including a scene where a homeless man talks of how women are underappreciated, it falls flat because of the film’s basic premise: that women tend to choose wrong partners and need help. This is a deeply patronising viewpoint. Pongadi Neengalum Unga Kadhalum is nothing but a more-than-two-hour conservative rant.
Cast: Ramakrishnan, Aathmiya, Karunya, Jayaprakash
Storyline: A police commissioner is hunting his daughter’s rapists while the heroine is out to ruin the protagonist’s life.
Bottomline: The script needs to catch up with the times