Review Tamil

Sivaranjani and Two Other Women review: Effective depiction of patriarchy and sexism in daily life

Release Date: 01 Nov 2018 / 02hr 03min


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Suparna Thombare

Vasanth's minimalistic and matter-of-fact approach pushes you to see how deeply entrenched patriarchy is in our marital system. 

Director Vasanth S Sai's film Sivaranjani And Two Other Women (Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum) is an anthology of three shorts (written by well-known Tamil writers Ashokamitran, B Jeyamohan and Aadavan), set in three different time periods in Tamil Nadu, with one common thread — women fighting patriarchy.

The first story is placed in 1980s. The camera follows a woman carrying bags in both hands and a child in her arms all the way from a puja ceremony, on the street, in the bus and the walk back home, while her husband strolls empty handed ahead of her. Her whole life revolves around her abusive and entitled husband before she finds herself.

The second story, set in the 1990s, follows a woman leaving office on a scooter, with her husband and nephew riding pillion. Her sister-in-law harbours resentment towards her as she is the only working woman in the house and gets a lot more freedom than her. But a personal diary becomes the point of contention soon after as the family forces her to reveal what's in it for fear that it may affect the family's honour. No matter how independent, she has no right to privacy and personal space beyond her husband and the family. Pushed to the edge, she takes charge of the proceedings.

I believe camera is the language: Director Vasanth on the lack of dialogues in Sivaranjani And Two Other Women

The third story, set in the 2000s, depicts an athelete who gets married right before she is about to represent her state at the national level. She is forced to opt out of the competition as her husband refuses to put on paper that she won't get pregnant. Few years down the line the only running around she does is to attend to her wifely and motherly duties - getting her daughter ready for school, cooking, feeding her husband and taking care of his glasses and socks. She loses out on fulfilling her dreams and thus yearns to find her self-worth. And then she runs, a sense of accomplishment filling her heart.  

The three stories depict through little everyday events how these women and countless across the world have to fight for their identity, space and self-worth.

Vasanth's minimalistic and matter-of-fact approach forces you to focus on the developments. The dialogues are few and there is not even any background music to distract you from what's happening on screen. And yet he manages to engage you in the daily lives of these women as their stories come to a conclusion through little realisations along the way.  

The candid camerawork follows the women closely as they go about their daily routine, creating anticipation of what's going to happen next. Vasanth uses the camera earnestly and skilfully to convey the casual sexism and misogyny that our family system is steeped in. And no matter how much the times have changed, patriarchy continues to remain entrenched in us in one way or the other.

Director Vasanth's film is simple, relatable and engaging as much as it is full of micro awakenings.

Sivaranjani And Two Other Women was screened at the 20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival on 1 November 2018.

 

Related topics

MAMI Mumbai Film Festival Oxfam Gender Equality Award

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