Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Movie Review - Sharapanjaram

This is an old Malayalam movie directed by Hariharan. This was supposedly loosely inspired by D H Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover. I felt 'loosely' was an understatement as I felt the ideologies espoused were polar opposite.

As English isn't my first language, I found D H Lawrence's novels are an assault on my limited vocabulary and regular understanding of sentence structure. His writing style reminded me one of Kannada's foremost writers, Kuvempu. Kuvempu came from a caste which, though dominant, wasn't allowed to learn Sanskrit. Now, in olden days Sanskrit was the language of learning and it made all the difference. As a protest against such discrimination, he inundated many of his Kannada works with Sanskrit words. I wonder whether working class background D H Lawrence forced him to showcase his command over the language. Or whether it was a challenge to the critics to measure up to his intellectualism, considering the fact that his books would have been considered pornography and thus low.

In Lady Chatterley's Lover, the main female character part of the upper class lusts after and loves a man from working class. This much is similar in the case of the Malayalam movie Sharapanjaram. While in Lady Chatterley's Lover, the working class hero is a good man, in Sharapanjaram, he's an evil man. As I already mentioned about D H Lawrence's working class background, I was interested in knowing that Malayalam movie director's background. I couldn't find the caste of the director Hariharan. However, Malayattoor Ramakrishnan, the script writer, comes from a privileged caste. So, we have a working class writer writing the original story about a working class person and questioning the class differences and trying to prove that true differences lie in our attitude or in our feelings that has nothing to do with the class they belong to. Love is a classless feeling. And then we have a privileged caste person writing a script which basically reinforced the stereotype that working class men are brutes and who don't understand love at all. The mistake of the upper class woman in falling in love and marrying a working class man had to be corrected by eliminating the working class man.

Also, D H Lawrence's working class man is much more complex. In fact, he could move between upper class and working class worlds with ease. Even though the relationship was built on compatibility of love and lust between upper and working class persons, the author made sure that working class man was intellectually equal to the upper class woman. I think this is important as the feudal upper class men of that era in fact married woman only based on their class and not on educational or intellectual compatibility (as education was optional for women in general). So, D H Lawrence's working class man basically mocked at the existing class system which only considered birth and had no place for compatibility of love and lust and also intellectualism.

It would be unfair to expect such a high level thinking in the Malayalam movie, however, one can only say that it was basically anti-Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thinking about thinking - notes

In one of my previous posts I wrote:
Once I moved to professional life, my usage of English went up. And nowadays I think only in English and it's not just technical information. I find it interesting to observe that where the common lingo would have been Kannada when conversing face-to-face, the imaginary talks are conducted in English.
 I was reading a NewYorker article by a Bosnian born English writer. There he writes:

Back in my early years in the U.S., at the time when my English was in transition from tourist to survival mode, I’d catch myself dreaming in English, and noticing, in my dream, that the people who shouldn’t be talking in English were doing so. Even more bizarrely, I would recollect English conversations with my family or friends, which would certainly have taken place in our native language. I interpreted those dreams and memories as my subconscious mind welcoming this non-native language. If I hadn’t absorbed the new language in that way, I wouldn’t have been able to write any of the books I’ve written in English, or to have lived a full life in this language.

It looks like our transitions are similar. But I'd be deceiving myself, if I think, our mastery over English is similar. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Yoga without Mind Control

[After one of the rape cases involving a godman in India]
"You know what, all these Babas do Yoga, so their sex drive is very high. Hence most of them indulge in such sexual activities."
"Aren't these basically rape?"
"Not really. It's generally consensual sex. But things go wrong when these women are not properly compensated."
"Well, that's not what I read. Nevertheless, as a baba you shouldn't indulge in these activities. No?"
"Well, they do Yoga and because of that they can't control."
"But isn't Yoga all about control. Mind control, body control, emotion control, breathing control etc..."
"Yes, true, but they get too many opportunities."
"But that's the definition of the control. You control your senses in the face of temptations."
"Ha, ha...when you have opportunities..."
"That really shows, Yoga is good for improving  your libido but not so much for mind control."
"ah..."
"I think it makes sense. If you read the history of Yoga, it was considered heretic in olden day India. But today a smoke screen of spiritualism and mind control was created to hide its true motivation."
"hmmm..."
"No wonder it became popular with publicly sex doing White people."
" "
"I  think evolutionarily Yoga makes sense as it improves your sex drive. However, there should be a caution that people who don't have mind control shouldn't practice it. Especially, the babas."



Monday, September 4, 2017

Clothes Make the Woman - ii

In my previous post, I opined that feminine clothes are sexist and masculine clothes are gender neutral. It appears the gender neutral trend in clothing agrees with that assessment. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

TV Serial Review : Sci Fi series

I suppose the basic premises of all Sci Fi series are:
1. The scientific and technological advancements of the future do not help human beings to transcend their petty primitive instincts and behaviours.

2. Even when you basically possess a magic wand with all the scientific and technological development, it's far easier to correct the past than correct the dystopian present.

Is our imagination just the sum of our experiences?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Movie Review: Blue Valentine

The core of the movie is derived from the studies that observed women like macho men while ovulating and caring men otherwise. Even though it's about a couple, the main and the only protagonist is a woman, Cindy, struggling in a dilemma posed by nature and nurture (patriarchy).

Only Cindy has all round personality in the movie and all others, the husband, the father, the doctor and the ex-lover have one-dimensional personalities perfected in feudal ethos. In fact, her husband is a caricature of non-feudal.

The husband doesn't defy any stereotypes of a feudal man. He doesn't have an identity of his own. He's just non-feudal. He has only love because feudal man has been characterized by only lust. He adopts a macho man's child and brings her up as his own but cannot convince his wife to have a child of his own. During intercourse, he shows inverted power relations instead of mutual and thus equal action. He doesn't have any ambitions. He takes the hit but doesn't attack. He is simple. However, his developing drunkenness when love appears to evaporate, gives us a clue he is not new age man but the one always existed among us as an anti-thesis of feudal men giving some kind of validity to them. Most likely he emerges as the cliched 'gentle giant' of the working class.

Cindy on the other hand is a far more complex character. She had the potential to become part of the middle class had she become a doctor but ended up in the working class by becoming a nurse. The main reason being her acceptance of a feudal man's sperm. We have no indication of either religious or ethical considerations there. In fact, the unplanned pregnancy could be the result of a rape too if we go by certain definitions. So, she was held back by patriarchy. However, she isn't  a feudal woman but feudal woman in transition. She did break-up with her feudal boyfriend. We sense her individualism waking up when she was aghast that the doctor liked her for her body and not for the abilities. However, at the same time she can't accept her husband's lack of ambition and refusal to hit back. Her advice to him, 'be a man'. It's in these words we are left with the confusion what it is to be a man or a woman liberating ourselves from feudal ethos.

We don't get any answers in Cindy's circle for that question. Her father, ex-lover and the doctor are representatives of feudal men. Even though, she ends up being a working class woman, her individual class is middle class but there are no middle class men around her who could be defined as non-feudal.

Ultimately, the movie tries to explore what is to be a man or a woman in post-feudal societies. However, drawback of the movie is it's only a woman who is struggling to define herself but men have defined themselves as they have always been in feudal societies.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

TV Serial Review: The Red Tent

The series portrays retreats to secluded tents during menstruation as some kind of personal space for females where they have gala time. It seems the author, Anita Diamant, had no idea of such practice in ancient Israel and based it on practices in pre-modern societies.

If she had done some research on West and South Asian societies then she would have observed that;
- such seclusion, either in a separate hut or in a separate room, wasn't a choice for females
- females during that period were considered impure

So she basically romanticized a barbaric practice. It's unknown whether this practice was started before the rise of patriarchy when families were centered around women. But whatever its origins the practice was ritualized and made compulsory among both tribes and non-tribes in these regions in patriarchal religions. She is not much different from right-wing nutcases who defend it as resting period for females or hygienic  practice implemented by males.