Ms Representation: The director’s gaze

In Comali, which released this week, a saree-clad woman sells bajjis for a living. A don named Gaja (Ponnambalam) stares at her exposed waist, so transfixed with lust that he isn’t aware of men lurking closer to kill him. Pradeep Ranganathan, the director of Comali, doesn’t think it is enough for us to merely witness Ponnambalam’s lust. The camera zooms closes in on the woman’s waist and tracks the smallest movements voyeuristically. As I fidgeted in my seat, impatient for the sequence to end, the last straw arrived. After a tussle, Gaja gets killed by Dharmadurai. Blood splatters on the lady’s waist. As she makes a sensual sound, one of Dharmadurai’s (KS Ravikumar) henchmen deems it appropriate to wipe blood off her waist and use it as a sign of victory. I, on the other hand, was already regretting my decision to catch an early morning show of this film.

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