Raman Aandalum Raavanan Aandalum is the opening phrase of the blockbuster Rajinikanth song from Mullum Malarum. The full verse is “Raman aandalum ravanan aandalum enaku oru kavalai ila” (Whether Rama rules or Ravana, I don’t care). In Mullum Malarum, the song is a boisterous proclamation of Kaali’s bravado and morality. In Arisil Moorthy’s Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum (RARA), it’s a plea from the common, impoverished man — no matter who rules us, our situations are not going to change. The stage for political commentary is set, but does the film use it well?
Abortion is the Voldemort of Indian cinema: it must not be named. For years, unplanned pregnancies have been used as miracles that fix pretty much every problem. Relationship troubles? Extra-marital affair? Toxic partner? Problems with parents or in-laws? “Oru kuzhandhai porandha ellam seri aagidum.” Sure, it may not be everyone’s preference, but why is it never shown to be an option? Even worse, this perfectly legal procedure is often equated to ‘murder’ or ‘sin’, like films like Puppy, or AL Vijay’s short in Kutty Story. The latter even dubs abortion illegal, while the former guilt-shames a woman into being a mother.
It has been 50 years since the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, legalised a woman’s right to terminate pregnancy within 20 weeks (24 in special cases with legal and medical permission). And yet, there is SO much misinformation around the subject and the procedure. So, when a character in the recently released Netrikann claims that she didn’t know that abortions were legal, it’s perfectly understandable.
They say art reflects life, but I say how art is consumed is also a reflection of our lifestyle. Amazon Prime Video has become an important player in the ever-changing universe of film exhibition—so much so that ‘wait for it to come on Prime’ has become a legit line to use in the context of film releases. “We aim to serve the customers across the length and breadth of this country. India is diverse, and we recognise that. The idea is to make the canvas as wide as we can,” says Vijay Subramaniam, Director and Head, Content, Amazon Prime Video India. Here’s Vijay discussing the nitty-gritty of the streaming universe, and the part Prime plays in it…