Hello dear reader. I am back from my unannounced break, and if you have missed reading my witty commentary on all things significant or otherwise, please let me know. I am not beyond asking for attention of this kind – I’ll admit it, I think the world revolves around me. Or at least this corner of the digital world. My break was extended because I did not feel confident writing again – what if not typing for three weeks had in fact resulted in my supposed skill dissolving into the space-time continuum? What if I was worse than before? There’s one way to find out.
So here I am, bringing you Singam 3, which is in fact about a man, not a lion.
Duraisingam is still the police officer from a small town (village?) without whose help dangerous international criminals would not have been captured. Apply to him all properties one would generally associate with a hero from a small town. He has a heart of gold, he is respectful towards women in that convoluted way that simultaneously looks like he is insulting women, he is courageous and he will always do the right thing. He also has limited experience with transfiguration, having attended Hogwarts sometime during his teenage years. He morphs into a lion when he is angry and he will then weigh 1.5 ton.
It is not vital to go into the specifics, but for the sake of completeness: There is a villain in Australia who has a North Indian name and is very rich. Initially, we are not sure why he is the villain, or if he is evil simply by virtue of having a North Indian name and lots of money and living abroad – all of these are valid reasons, do not doubt. In one of his earlier scenes, he beats up a white woman so he can extract some information from her white husband. Yes, he is the kind of almost-foreign-man who beats defenseless women, but we know he is Indian at heart from his subsequent dialogue: If your husband was Indian, he would not have allowed you to be beaten up so badly before confessing. Ergo, Indian men cannot bear to see strangers abusing their women.
The villain does many villainy things, including attempted rape, for which he is appropriately punished after several shouting matches and chase sequences. I choose not to elaborate. This villain is still a step up from the villain in the second Singam movie – a large black man who I think was called an African Monkey. If you are feeling generous, you might be inclined to forgive this racist slur, considering Duraisingam himself is an Indian Lion.
Duraisingam is the torchbearer of Tamil culture. He doesn’t speak to women unless they are family or probably colleagues – but we will never know for sure because there are no policewomen around. If you are a woman who cannot be slotted into the mother/sister/daughter/wife categories, Duraisingam has no time for you.
When Vidya aka Agni aka Shruti Haasan throws herself at him, he is disgusted – is this what good women do? Kindly refer to his wife’s behaviour for some pointers on the character traits of the ideal Tamil woman who never takes off her thaali, even if airport security demands so. Boorish uncultured women will not understand such sentiments. Duraisingam of course looks on with much pride as his wife stands there arguing with airport personnel, possibly holding up the queue. She is the city girl who has been tamed successfully, now she imbibes all the wonderful small town qualities her husband taught her.
Vidya/Agni is an investigative journalist, we discover later. However, this isn’t very useful in the grand scheme, because she exists to fall in love with the hero after he behaves rudely with her, look glamorous in a dream song, and offer herself up for sacrifice once she realizes her mistakes. This way, we can all sleep in peace because we have now seen Duraisingam romancing two women, even if one of those romances was imaginary.
Singam 3 teaches the kind of warped feminism and in-your-face macho posturing that is the hallmark of Tamil Nadu. It is also a lesson in how to present a movie in fast forward mode.