Kumaari

Curator's Note

A Dutch tulip field is the setting for expressing a love that dares not speak its name at home - the love that an orthodox Tamil brahmin male feels for a woman from his own background. Here is an antique passion and a form of repression that seems more comic than tragic, given that global capitalism is supposed to put love within everyone’s reach. The music and words are lyrical (due to Vairamuthu and HarrisJeyaraj), while the acting brings out the satirical element of a chaste brahmin declaring romantic, i.e. forbidden love, while surrounded by those who fit other brahmin stereotypes, of being lecherous and hypocritical. Beginning with a scene where women drawing ritual mandalas in an agraharam, the segregated brahmin quarter of a South Indian village, transposed to a Dutch agro-corporate flower farm irrigated by windmills, there are no foreigners in this landscape. Rather, it is thoroughly domesticated to a Tamil cinematic fantasy. What is global here, and what is local - and for whom?

Comments

Ok - I'll try a

Ok - I’ll try a reading…

I havent seen the film - but it seems parody like of bollywood film sequences at the same time as it reinforces the same.

As bollywood and tollywood (telugu/tamil “hollywood”) viewers know the dutch tulips are a common feature in romance duets in bollywood and tollywood.

There seems to be a modernity narrative somehow embedded in this though - I wish I understood tamil - the language nuances are probably not as clear in the English subtitles. While it seems to invoke genres of (brahmin and rural culture focused) Telugu films produced by Vishwanathan in the 80s (Shankaraabharanam, Saptapadi etc), there is also a Mehmoodlike parodying of the South Indian Brahmin figure (you have already pointed to this).

as for what is global and what is local - I am glad you added on the “for whom”. I see a redefining of a “local” for the “global” - i.e. the NRI audience. But I also see a parodying of a particular global for a certain kind of (class/caste based) local.

While the “fusing” of genres makes for interesting viewing, I am afraid I see selective exotic locales linking to global capital… (no doubt as it attempts to speak to a South Indian Tamil NRI ish audience).

But yet it is not that straightforward - because it also attempts to speak to a local Tamil Indian audience in the way that it mocks the brahmin with his Western influenced mixed up notions of romance.

Again I dont feel I can comment in depth without having seen the full film.

[...] see

[…] see http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/videos/2007/02/08/kumaari/ […]

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