The GVM Women

I like the Gautham Vasudev Menon women more than the women in most other movies these days, but I don’t like them as much as I should.

Consider the women in Kaakha Kaakha, Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (just Kayalvizhi, not Aradhana), Pachaikili Muthucharam, Vaaranam Aayiram, Vinnaithandi Varuvaya, and Yennai Arindhaal: They are all essentially the same woman. They speak in low, soothing tones, they meet their friends (or lovers) in places like The Brew Room and Tryst Cafe, they buy their clothes from Kalpastree and Hands of India exhibitions at Kalakshetra, they have a cumulative score of 99.9% in their engineering course (Meghna in VA), and if we do not know whether they scored 99.9%, we know they studied mathematics or some other subject considered difficult (Maya, Jessie). They tend to wear Indian clothing even when the situation does not necessarily ask for it (example: Thenmozhi performing karaoke in a white-purple sari). They are all working, they live in a house decorated with knick-knacks from Dakshinachitra (they mostly live beyond their means as well, but this is excused since they are upper middle class women to begin with).

I am excluding Minnale, Nadunisi Naaigal and Needhane En Ponvasantham. Minnale does not belong to the type of movies I like to think of as the quintessential GVM movie (I find myself wondering why I liked it back then, the picturization of Vaseegara alone is enough to make one reconsider), and the girl in NEPV is richer and younger than your usual GVM woman, and Nadunisi Naaigal is what GVM himself called “a failed experiment” (though I did watch it first day at Devi, only to leave with a headache somewhere between my temples).

Do you like the GVM woman? Is she not intimidating in a way? I might feel like an absolute klutz if I ever meet her. Maybe only the GVM man in his white shirt and blue jeans is classy enough to approach her.

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7 thoughts on “The GVM Women

  1. I do like those epitomes of sophisticated elegance. I believe that his idea of an idealised woman is not innocent or naivie (which IMO are euphemism of Stupid) but based on her charm and grace. He has no problem defining her as more intelligent than the hero. And the hero is not intimidated by all that. He does not put her in her place (below him) through Violence or Insults. He is confident that he can charm her. Maybe with Illayaraja songs or uber cool dialogue. His idea of uber cool dialogue (Inga evanum ivalo azhaga paathiruka maataanunga) is a huge eye roll for me. But what can one do?

    I believe that GVM does not really think of his heroine as a wonderfull person to be with but as a target to be achieved. But the target is achieved not by cheating. The hero impresses this fairy/nymph by being impressive in a gentlemanly way. And we see that soooooooooooo rarely in Tamil Cinema.

    I don’t think he often puts himself in a woman’s shoes (or slippers) and do the the Female POV thinking (like Fazil does). That is why they lack a certain warmth. GVM does better in Romance movies rather than the Action movies to create memorable female characters. VTV and NEPV had these women show completely different personalities (the Wimp and the Go-getter) underneath this same sophisticated veneer. They are not killed off so that their hubby can do impressive stunts. So we see some reality underneath. I was impressed with how different VTV and NEPV are. I am very unimpressed with that charming bali-aadu of (KK, VV, YA) GVM Action movie fame.

    I have more to go. Will type later. Fave Topic you see. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment!! 😀
      I think that’s what it is then, the lack of a female POV. The women are therefore closest to real women within a somewhat unreal template. Hmm. Let me think some more about this! I personally don’t like the women of both VTV & NEPV (and neither do I like the men), but that is not to say anything about the movie or the characters themselves, it is just my disposition I think. Like I might be the friend saying “make up your damn mind”. :-p
      What about the repeated use of love at first sight concept? That irks me more than anything 🙂 hero sees heroine, thinks she’s most beautiful or whatever (fill in other clichés here), does somersaults to woo her etc..though by now I have almost given up trying to get worked up over it.

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  2. Not to forget, they a say that they want to make love with the hero – most if them anyway.

    Seriously though, they are much more relatable than the air headed, polished wooden statues. They are relatable in the sense, I have at least met and been friends with women who might fit into this category. They at least feel like a superlative version of the women around me. Have I ever resonated with them, not actually. But certain moments and characteristics of it – yes. I could actually relate to ‘I think it is better to disappoint you than my parents’. No, I haven’t said so in my life, but the intention behind it. The ‘wimp’ as Rahini called her, who finally hardened her heart and took a decision. They actually have a character arc in the romantic movies, as they should. And Nithya, oh my, how can I not like her. She is so true and real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment! Turns out it was in the spam queue, not sure why!
      Haha yes several people could relate to Nitya. But I found both Nitya and Varun annoying in that movie. 😀 kind of like how I found Rani Mukherjee and SRK annoying in KANK maybe?

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  3. VTV is one of the rare movies my husband and I watched in a theatre and I dont think we have watched a movie together after that.

    We were both annoyed with VTV characters and had little patience to watch the same thing over and over again. But funnily enough, such characters exist in real life. My husband’s colleague has gotten back with his GF for the nth time. They both remain unmarried, like each other but also cannot make up their mind.

    Both VTV and NPV are like real life stories that probably we dont like to watch such mundane stuff on-screen. NPV, I watched it on Temtkotta I think. I dont know what my reaction would have been, had I watched it in theatre. It had a lot of nuances and logic behind the characters actions and reactions, except for the cinematic climax cancelling wedding on the day of wedding scene.

    His women are any day better than the bubbly loose ponnu characters. I am pretty sure he has some real life inspiration based on whom he dresses up his women and their apartmemts in all his movies. Sort of like a Mani Ratnam artsy interior decor.

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    1. The thing about NEPV is that these two people insist on behaving in ways I do not like. Not taking anything away from the movie but it was annoying on a personal level, that is all. With VTV, I didn’t feel as annoyed, probably because it wasn’t a very microscopic examination of two people in a relationship. Even though she couldn’t decide if she liked him enough to give up everything else, there was still that issue of different religions.

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    2. VTV is what gave me the “I know that there are people like that but I don’t want to sit and watch them as they are not likable people in the first place” reaction.

      In fact, most people call Jessie unpredictable. Nope she is clear. She does not feel that the guy is worth the effort. He falls in love, she is just amused. Eventually she is touched. Then she is attracted, but most important is her having a passion for the guy in return. It does not happen with her as much as he would like it to happen. That makes him feel entitled and shouts a bit and that is what he would do at the moment.

      But I never felt she was a yo-yo. She is strong as a stone. Nice guy, sweet guy but not THAT worth it. That is her stance. The thing is people get it if a guy genuinely wants a temporary relationship. But if a woman wants it, they wonder there is something deeper going on within her.

      She is damn clear. “Let us have a relationship as we are both attracted. As you are younger than me, I will claim you are a thambi. Then after having a nice time we will marry as per parent’s wishes. OK?” This is what she wants. This is what she says and all her actions point towards it. Still they call her an enigma.

      I know these non-enigmas who just don’t tally with their angel-like exterior. If people analyse Jessie based on her actions they will see her for what she is. A woman who would not make sacrifices just because the guy next door is punching his fist towards the sky in a totally cinematic way.

      😀

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