Comparative Analysis of Fight Club and Aiyyaa
The plot of the movie goes something like this: A depressed man joins support groups as a way to deal with his insomnia- these are the only places where he can cry, and as a result, sleep in peace. He bumps into Tyler Durden, a soap salesman on a flight, and soon shifts to his excuse of a house, because his (the narrator’s) house is mysteriously set on fire. Together, bored of their lives, they start the Fight Club. However, things come to be tested when Marla Singer, a fellow “tourist” in the support groups sleeps with Tyler, thus making the narrator and the housemate’s partnership rocky.
Meenakshi is a librarian at a college, whose family is eager to get her married and gets a matrimonial ad printed in the paper for the same. Soon, she starts getting visits from interested suitors on a daily basis, until one of them, Maadhav, finally agrees to marry her. Meanwhile in college, she bumps into Surya, an art student, and falls head over heels for him. The story follows a dramatic Meenakshi’s life, as she follows Surya, and Maadhav follows her.
A noteworthy common factor that arises is that both movies play with radical concepts. Both movies have a different take on the unconscious mind and its relation to sleep. In Aiyyaa, the protagonist (Meenakshi) is frequently lost in her daydreams- getting lost in dreams without really sleeping, cuing a different song each time. She’s lovelorn, to say the least, as is visible in her melodramatic “aiyyaa”s. In Fight Club, however, the narrator develops a split personality (or alter ego) who goes by the name of Tyler Durden. Whenever the narrator is “asleep”, Durden takes over to build the network. As the narrator puts it, “When you have insomnia, you’re never really asleep… and you’re never really awake.” Another factor is the rebellion hidden in both characters. The narrator in Fight Club is tired of the mundane life he’s leading, and thus decides to build a Fight Club and Project Mayhem. Meenakshi in Aiyyaa is trying to fight against the norms of society that demand that she learn how to sing, cook, pretty herself up, and master everything else that a housewife must know how to do- with the sole exception of working, of course.
There’s a stark contrast between both movies, though. Fight Club is a movie that appeals to the Alpha Male- the man who wants to be in control of everything around him, with a club designed “for men only”. Aiyyaa, on the other hand, is a first for Bollywood; the female actor grabs the role of the protagonist, and the male doesn’t get a lot of lines.
Another feature that stands out is the theme. Fight Club, as the name (and everything else) suggests, is a movie centered around Violence. Aiyyaa (In English: Ouch) is a movie that plays with Femininity and the Lovestruck Character of a woman, as understood by society.