Bushes that move ...
Have had to work round the clock again.. to top things off I have the flu! So the posts are going to be few and far between for the week..
Anyways, I woke up in the middle of the night with a cold sweat and couldnt go back to sleep. So I switch on the TV to the Tamizh Channel and they were playing old movie songs. These movies are at least 20-30 years old..If you think Tamizh culture is sexually repressed today, think of it 30 years ago. The portrayal of the hero and heroine sharing a kiss, still cracks me up when I watch it today.
To give you a visual, the hero and heroine are in the middle of a song and dance sequence, typically with the hero in a tuxedo and the heroine in a white silk sari or a two piece (which was considered modern clothing in those days !). They are singing, running around trees, climbing up and down elaborate staircases, chasing each other around water fountains and towards the end of the song, IT happens !!
The heroine covers her face with the back of her left hand, and bats her eyelids a few times (she is shy now, in case you dont get it!).
Next she runs behind a huge bush with dainty feet(if the scene is in a wooded forest in an outdoor shoot) or potted plant (if the song and dance is in a park in a movie set).
Our Hero, follows her behind the bush with a swagger and a crude smile on his face, song still on his lips !
Once he goes behind, the bush shakes violently like no bush can naturally shake. This is the key differentiator. If it was the wind blowing the bushes, adjacent branches would sway in the same direction, but in the movies, the adjacent branches move in a scissor motion !! This would violate all of Newtons laws of physics unless of course, the branches were being held by the hero and heroine and are being moved. What is the idea here ? They are suppossedly kissing !!!
Then the hero alone comes out at the end of the song with a stupid grin on his face and he wipes his mouth , NO wait, his entire lower face !! He pretty much uses the entire surface area available to him on his right hand from the wrist to the elbow.
Naturally, an impressionable boy of 13 like me would automatically think that the heroine slobbered all over our hero's face behind the bush !! I never had a dog, but my cousin had a huge alsation named Millie (if I remember right) and I have seen it kiss him. His face used to be covered in saliva and he needed a towel to wipe off the KISS ! To borrow a word from my toddlers vocabulary, I always thought kissing was "yukkie" based on the Tamil Movies of yore, and moving the bushes seemed like hard work . . .
Then came the late eighties. Movies had improved in the kissing portrayal and they usually showed the hero covering the heroines face (you see the back of his head) and the heroines eyes go wide open. Most of the heroines open out their eyes so wide that I got the feeling that they were reacting to a proctology exam more than a kiss. But the portrayal was far better, because there were no moving bushes that blocked our view. We also get to know that the hero is in direct contact with the heroine and the bush is just an unnecessary third party !! Save for a few movies and a few daring heros and heroines, Tamizh cinema still sticks to the hero cupping heroines face, turning his head, heroine opens eyes too wide routine..
If kissing is shown like this, how do you infer the hero had sex with the heroine you ask ? Well, that is even more hilarious..
Most sex scenes in Tamil Cinema (if you can call it that) are very dignified. In a way this is not bad because most western movies have too much unnessesary nudity. This basically makes it impossible to watch engish movies with your mother or mother in law because the one sudden nude scene spoils the entire movie going experience. Tamil movies tackle this awkwardness rather nicely. Usually, the sex is "marital night sex" or in desi parlance "first night sex".
The hero (groom) is waiting in his room in a new outfit. The bed is all decorated with jasmine flowers and rose petals.. They show a basket of fruit and some incense sticks burning by the little table near the bed..
The heroine, then walks in with a glass of milk (she is usually accompanied by giggling girls till the door). She is pushed in and the door is locked from the outside. After she goes to the bed and her giggly friends walk away from the door, the heroine falls at her husbands feet first to get is blessings !! Why on earth a girl would want to get blessings from her groom before sex is still beyond me !! Maybe it is a turn on for the macho guys who grew up in those days..(some kind of subjugation fetish ?). Anyways, I digress and it doesnt matter. The hero usually blesses her with a few kids before the end of the movie anyways..
Once the heroine falls at his feet, he typically lifts her up, embraces her and tra la la. The lights go off and there is always some moving music (usually flute) in the background. This is followed either by :
a. a temple tower zooming on the screen (with bells tolling in the background)
b. a sunrise on a beach
c. two flowers in the morning (dew and all) rubbing against each other
d. two sheep nudging each other
That about sums up all the creative options I have seen in 25 years of movie watching !!
This is followed by the scene where our hero is still presumably sleeping, but our heroine is already up, has taken a shower, is in a modest synthetic sari with the towel still wrapped around her wet hair and she is PRAYING !!.. she has lit a camphor light for the prayer and is showing it to the gods. This always beats me !!
Pop quiz for you . Why should women end up praying first thing in the morning after they have just had sex for the first time ???
a. Thank god that their hubby is not impotent
b. Atone for her sins, because she was a naughty girl the previous night !!
c. Get back her image as a god fearing girl in the eyes of the audience in the event they mistake her for a wild thing !!
d. all of the above
Either way, the girl coming out with the towel and praying first thing in the morning is still part of todays movies. Hope they will break out of that mold soon..
ps. I am not advocating wild sex in Tamizh movies.. I am actually happy with indirect portrayals of affection, especially in family movies. Just that some of the stuff doesnt make sense..