Homosexuality in Tamil Movies

affboi / Blog / 7 yrs ago /

Vettaiyaadu Vilayaadu was a much-anticipated Tamil movie of 2006. With its eventual albeit delayed release, it is supposed to have taken the biggest ever opening in Tamil cinema history. Good stuff.

What I am really interested is in the villain-couple – yeah, those two guys who were molested in a jail cell one night by sex-hungry hijras, as they always are, and then eventually became a couple of serial killers. Nice.

There are several things that grate on my nerves here. But, most of all, I love that propaganda that homosexuality is the result of mental and physical (homosexual!) trauma – I suppose none of the writers of this film know that homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness more than 30 years ago – but then again, witnessing Tamil film writers pen scenes and themes that are out-of-date by 30+ years is nothing new.

Of course, although the boys were molested in India, they had to go to New York to become full-fledged homosexuals – it could not have happened in India. Although we all understand ‘full-fledged’ to mean different things, within the realms of the twisted sensibility of the movie, it simply means to be perverse.

Then, there is that wonderful scene where Kamal Haasan cacophonously spits the words out homosexuals as if it were causing a rash in the back his throat. This, of course, he discovers after seeing the name of one guy tattooed on the back the other. He concludes, due to the “Raghavan instinct,” that the guy with the tattoo is the wife, (or the bottom?) – he has clearly not been to the Folsom Street Fair.

My favourite scene is, of course, the one in which the couple dies painfully. Sure they were rapists and killers, and therefore the moral conflation of Tamil movie justifies their gruesome death – but does anyone know why these guys even gay? Why were they raping and killing women? (Were they looking for their lost masculinity? Did they ‘lose’ it when they were molested” Was the writer a complete idiot with a penchant for trite twists in a story?) Should they not have been going after drag queens and corrupt cops? Why were they not raping men? - which, by the way, would have made the movie immensely more interesting. But I am sure male-rape does not even exist in Kollywood, just like non-pathological gay men.

Another thing I find interesting is that all these guys encounter gays only in jails. Surely you have not forgotten Balu Mahendra’s little take on it. In Adhu Oru Kanaakkaalam, this guy in a jail cell sexually approaches Dhanush. This (gay) guy, of course, uses the worst pick up line ever – I think it roughly translates into “try it, you’ll like it.” Dhanush, of course, not standing for his manhood being slighted, bashed the guy’s brains in, ergo ruins his life. Pay heed to the destructive powers of homosexuality! I think homosexuality is the most destructive thing in Kollywood since colonialism and corrupt politicians.

Anyway, the jail setting is very interesting. (Not only does it provide for bondage fantasies,) it [also] unwittingly problematizes male sexuality in jails – but it will be 25,000 years before Kollywood even acknowledges male-rape, let alone talk about it. In fact, if not for the occasional portrayal of openly gay characters in Hindi movies, we will not even see these pitiful shadows of gay characters in Tamil movies – we would have had to contend with Alis singing their Machaanai Partheengalaa in circles forever. (I think all Alis go to a certain school that teaches a repertoire of Tamil songs to perform, the top one of which is S. Janaki’s Machanai Parhtheengala. But, that for another day)

So, besides the wise-crack Vivek makes about " FIRE -style," and the occasional buffoonery of gay men, there has been absolutely no realistic or serious portrayal of the gay Tamil man in Tamil movies.

That's delicious. Superficial, sanctimonious, and hypocritical, but delicious.

Neeraj Sharma / / 7 yrs ago
Neeraj Sharma

great observation. of course it will take at least a 100 years before these buffoons pick up a science book. but what can you expect from a crowd that decides to almost kill an actress for saying that it is ok for a woman to have pre marital sex.

Julia Dutta / / 7 yrs ago
Julia Dutta

great review! loved this - superficial, sanctimonious, and hypocritical, but delicious.
yes, the chennai society is so conservative and perhaps as you say hypocritical! nice to know taht they blame everything on us including their sexual choices. just imagine not even knowing that homosexuality is considered alternate sexuality and making afilm to exhibit their lack of knowledge. hahahaha!