Director Suzanethiran was mired in controversies during the audio launch of his latest film Iswaran. He was criticized for the way he treated Nidhi Agarwal on stage. He called her bad for speaking sweet things about the film’s lead actor, Simbu. And if you feel that this was just a lapse of judgment on the part of Susanthiran, then you can change your opinion after seeing Iswaran. The film is nothing but a two-hour oral and visual flow of cues that reinforces the patriarchal view of women’s sub-prime roles for men in a family.
For example, take the character of Nidhi Aggarwal. She is a educated modern girl. But, her character does not reflect the aspirations of a 2021 girl. She is upset with her elder sister, played by Nandita Swetha, as she has married someone else after breaking up with Ishwaran (Simbu).
is confused. Here is the back story.
Ishwaran and Nandita’s character was in love three years ago. But, their whirlwind romance becomes dead-end when it doesn’t meet their aspirations. Iswaran wants to spend the rest of his life in the service of his father Periyasamy (Bharathiraj), but Nandita’s character wants something else. They both participate. She marries someone else and advances her life. However, Nidhi’s character feels that her sister betrayed Ishwaran and wants to seduce her and bring her back. How can one justify such behavior of a young girl? Why can’t Suseenthiran imagine a smart girl who can act and speak on her own terms? Why should a leading lady bend over to rear herself for a hero?
And then, there is the stream of generalizations swept by Simbu that takes us back to his earlier films when he behaved as if he had a great authority on the subject of love and break-up. “Different versions of girls are just that, brothers” find a place in Ishwaran. The only thing you can do is that you are still seeing this kind of stuff in 2021.
Simbu suffered a lot of ridicule when he was overweight. Later, he went on a strict vegetarian diet and adopted a multi-disciplinary workout regime to get all the extra kilos out and get back to his old shape. So he had first-hand experience of what it means to shame the body. It may not be pleasant after all. But, in Iswaran, he laughs when his niece begrudges his fat friend. Except for his body weight, Simbu does not seem to have changed much.
All this film management is to reinforce the old views on all things under the sun.