The first edition of The Hindu on jan 1st 2006 had a wonderful article in its supplement, The Literary Review called 'The Filming of Poetry'. This is essentially about a short 55 minute movie about female poets in Tamil nadu, their works and the prejudices that they have to face in their personal and profesisonal life.
The details of the movie are worth giving out because the article rates it highly, and as per the Golden Rule in India, it has ben accepted by an audience in some US university and hence is fit for consumption by us too. We better do it unless we want Uncle Sam labelling us as savage brutes and decides to invade us.
Details: colour, 55 minutes, Tamil/English
Direction: Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayashankar
Music: L. Vaidyanathan
Camera: K.P. Jayashankar
A singularly interesting incident in the movie concerns the character of a poetess named Kutti Revathi (Little Revathi if you please). The lady had written a poem titled Mulaigal (Breasts) whose English translation will be provided at the end of this blog. Now, as is the case in TN nowadays, the male erotica bastion feels threatened. If you have been observing, the porn/erotica industry so far has been run by males. I take Playboy and Penthouse as examples. A desi example can be Mast Ram who is idolised by all North Indian males. i have been asked quite frequently 'Tune Mast Ram nahi padhi hai? To zindagi main kuch miss kiya hai yaar'. Of course the 'madams' of brothel houses as shown in movies like Umrao Jaan have been there, but even they have been under the overall control of some big shot male. It is only recently that a female is shown as a top honcho of the porn industry, kalyug being the movie in question.
Well, i fear I am diverting into some unnecessary details. Coming back to the topic, my intention is not to classify men or women as erotica specialists. What I wished to say was that most of the lyricists in tamil movies are males, and they have no qualms in belting out lyrics like:
"Adi Thangi Sumai Thangi" from Sivakasi which is an oblique reference to Vijay crooning to Asin "Can ur slender waist take the blows of my prick? Can u bear the weight that is bound to develop?"
Compared to this, the poem Mulaigal is a mature reflection on the roles of breasts for a woman. In a non-vulgar, but poetic way Kutti Revathi makes a statement has to be taken as erotica, read and forgotten or remembered as you please. Remember, even kalidasa's Abhignana Shakuntalam has lots of erotica in it. Specially references to how Shakuntala's breasts are too large for her deerskin to fit etc. In such a scenario, if males in tamil nadu take offence to everything they had better switch to the 'Naan Katu vanga ponen oru kavithai vangi vanden' type of lyrics.
have a look at the poem and decide for urself whether tamil nadu is on the way to complete talibanisation or not:
Breasts: (original 'Mulaigal' by Kutti Revathi), translated by N. Kalyan Raman
Breasts are bubbles, rising
In wet marshlands
I wondrously watched- and guarded-
Their gradual swell and blooming
At the edges of my youth's season
Saying nothing to anyone else,
They sing along
With me alone, always:
To the nurseries of my turning seasons,
They never once failed or forgot
To bring arousal
During penance, they swell, as if
To break free; and in the fierce tug of
They soar, recalling the ecstasy of music
From the crush of embrace, they distil
The essence of love; and in the shock
Of childbirth, milk from coursing blood
Like two teardrops from an unfulfilled
That cannot ever be wiped away,
They well up, as if in grief, and spill over
Ref: Literery review, The Hindu, January 1st 2006