Kaatru Veliyidai: Peeling the layers
Pavithra Selvam

Fabulous. To Vamlegend’s comment: “I was hoping to see your interpretation of the scene where VC confronts Leela’s parents, which seems to be really baffling everyone in the theater. But it definitely felt like the most telling when it came to VC’s issues.” — I think the scene is more about Leela than VC. That horrifying silence of Leela and her parents is the most cruel scene in the movie. I have a history like VCs and I can tell you, I would have hit someone if they had kept silent that long — its passive aggression at its worst. So, this shows where Leela’s subtle stone-walling and gas-lighting comes from. I loved Pavithra’s interpretation of that ‘Queen’ like attitude. VC was the perfect dancing partner for the passive aggressive Leela. And I loved the way Pavithra noticed how Leela uses that ‘Guilt-provoking’ card to VC. He has ‘guilt-syndrome’ and desperately doesn’t want to be like father but help being one. I know how passionate this combination of relationship can be. This ‘guilt-syndrome’ is quite a powerful thing. And he went on a full-fledged guilt-trip during the prison years that he came all the way to ‘apologize’ for having been the way he had been. And that scene with parents is show where she inherited her subtle passive aggression from. “Ipdi pesame pona epudi?” in psychological terms is “ipdi stone-walling panna epudi?” but, she is also a romantic with self-sabotaging tendencies which is evident throughout the film — the perfect partner for a person who has inherited aggression and desperately wanting to get out of it. About “What we are not seeing?” — The good times between the two. Hmmm.. I see this differently. I would say, we were seeing them individually in love — Leela is in love with VC irrespective of VC being in love with Leela and such an equation need not work out as a good ‘relationship’. Love is what exists inside one person. When it’s not reciprocated, it becomes an unrequited love. She feels she is in an unrequited love inside a relationship because of her inability to accept anything other than her version of love in mind, as love. It comes across as trust issue projecting Varun as someone who does not mean what he says. But, I loved the romantic in Leela. Some of the scenes that did something inside , say when I had butterflies — the ‘Bol re papi hara’ moment, the looking at each other moments during the flight, the single shot of looking at the fighter planes from inside glass window in between singing, face on face (unheard) conversation inside the car during the snow storm, “thuli kadhal ketein, thuli kamam ketein.. (Leela on phone) followed by Marukadhade.. (VC on phone)” part in Azhagiye song, a brief cuddle before Vaan varuvan and whole of “Vaan varuvan”, and again the same lines “thuli kadhal ketain… marukadhadee” in front of register office and when he says “and you know that I love you..” holding her cheek after that register office scene.. and “thottu thottu paakata.. paaru” scene in front of mirror.. and when he says “naan solrathe kelu.. ennavittu pogathey..” before going to war.. (trivia: that “moonu vaati kalyanam pannikalama? ellarum moonu mudichi poduvanga..” was so much like Rajini talking). However, what I loved most is the climax — the naked vulnerability, the lack of expectation, the honesty, the raw emotion and that final moment of feeling that trust for each other coming from what they have endured during the time away from each other for years- isn’t that what makes any relationship beyond the basic emotion of love worth everything. Doing something? “approm yen enakku indha moonu varushathula oru vaati kooda call pannale?” I couldn’t stop crying long after the movie finished. Isn’t that the beauty of a realistic cinema? VC isn’t a passionate romantic like her. But, I loved his journey of love in the form of exposing his vulnerability to her privately. He has never felt loved all his life. And he doesn’t have the heart to let go of that from Leela, so strongly for two reasons. One, it’s like a drug — a source of feeling complete (a craving stemming from his own history) and the other is the guilt arising out of falling short of love, to have failed someone for his inherent inability to say and do things the way other ‘normal’ people would — as repeatedly projected by Leela. It’s complicated. If raising his voice and saying ‘Shut up’ to Leela where he would have expected her to take his side in defending his mom and not making him look like his Dad is an ‘unacceptable’ quality then, to not say anything when Varun comes home and saying ‘Get out’ politely and to hide his parenthood from him are as ‘unforgivable’ as well. Both of them are imperfect. But, what they chose to do over the period of time away from each other is what defines their character. It may seem foolish but I belong to the old school. Loved your post.

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