Of community and kaamanatis..

I love being Indian and I feel an immense sense of belonging to everything this group of people stand for. I enjoy the cultural elements as well as the simple things that make us Indian, putting aside differences in language, geographical descents and appearances. I always feel proud to see an Indian make it to the top, to see an Indian production or just to see an outlet for potential. Yet, its amazing how in some instances we really become our own enemy. I have two interesting experiences to share; one with complete admiration for some members of this community and another filled with disdain. Ladies and gentlemen, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Sathai/Saakadai – A double bill presented by Puthiya Uthiram (Ravindran Drama Group)

I have always been amazed at the smaller productions organised by RDG (their larger productions are targeted at mass appeal and in my opinion, don’t show the same amount of boldness that the smaller shows do). Puthiya Uthiram represents the junior batch of up and coming artistes and they blew me away yesterday. I went to catch their double bill at Substation theatre yesterday and I was very glad I did. Saakadai was shocking, real and painful. I will not go into detail about the play itself as I truly hope that it makes a comeback to cater to a slightly larger audience, but in a nutshell it revolved around the filth we engage in day after day. This was juxtaposed by a toilet cleaner whose actions were filthy but his mind was cleaner than any one who had stepped into that toilet. Kudos to Mano and Rupbini as well as the director. Their roles were wonderfully executed and made the audience cringe, tear and reflect.

Sathai in my opinion was not as impressive as Saakadai. Funny how I actually went anticipating watching Sathai more but left being captivated by Saakadai. It was nice that they managed to eliminate some stereotypes we have about social escorts and sexual workers as a whole. Both the actresses were excellent in portraying what they were set out to show. I did feel that some elements of Sathai could have been a little better. For example, the play was not very clear in its motive – although it did show that social escorts do have a choice and they may CHOOSE to be in this line, by adding elements of sexual abuse and love failure, it still made it seem like they were somewhat pushed to making these decisions.

In what I have studied and researched before, I know that while sexual abuse, failed relationships can lead to people becoming social escorts or any other sexual workers (sexual workers need not be selling sex, escorts and domination work is also in this list), I know that they do not make the bulk of sexual workers. Many sex workers choose to be in this line because of the money it makes as well as the freedom the job provides them.

I feel that sometimes we are always so set to portray the deviants in a sympathetic light that we fail to understand that they are conscious human beings who do not need our sympathy but in fact just made choices that are different from our own.

If you want to know about some other misconceptions about sexual workers, you can check this link out: http://www.nhchc.org/2008conference/workshops/8docs/Sex_Industry_Myths.doc.pdf

Nevertheless, Puthiya Uthiram’s attempt must truly be applauded as both plays did move me and were very intelligently weaved. The cast were superb and I was so proud to see so many young, new faces who boldly embraced their roles and were not at all afraid.

I wish that there were more such Indians. Indians who want to change things, Indians who want to face things and Indians who want to raise awareness amidst other Indians. Kudos Puthiya Uthiram – I look forward to your next performance.

Now moving on to the BAD and the UGLY (a double bill presented by Dhool 2008) 😛 

DHOOL 2008

Once again, Indians haven’t failed to amaze me. This time for the opposite reason. This is not a post meant to attack Megastar, Dhool judges or Dhool hosts or even the dance groups. This is directed towards the audince. Will we ever grow up? Will we ever start looking at things objectively?

I visited the Dhool blog earlier today and honestly I am just so disappointed at the way we Indians tend to think. Firstly, the comments towards the hosts. Why is it that we can never appreciate when someone takes the effort to present a show. Being on live television is not easy. Apart from memorizing lines, one also has to think about quick comebacks as the show’s schedule is constantly changing. With that many eyes all on you, it is expected that one or two bloopers will be made. I do not have any personal affinity towards Vadi or Uthaya but I do think that people should be a little less harsh on them. People in the blog were asking why hosts like Jainesh and Vishnu were not chosen – Simply put, even if they were the hosts, I am certain that another group of audience will have something to say about them and their hosting. It really is good to see that the hosts take this in good humour and actually add it in their come back lines. And if you really do think you can do a better job than them, then Vasantham is having auditions for hosts – why not go participate and see if its as easy as it seems.

Secondly, comments towards judges. Why is it that we assume that someone is only fit to be a judge because they have danced? Does that mean that we as an audience don’t have the right to make comments about a dance until we’ve performed on television? Does this mean that if someone sings terribly, you’re not allowed to pass a comment until you’ve sung a song yourself? Dance is universal and everyone has a right to their opinion. I don’t think anyone is incapable of judging a dance performance. Vijendran may not be giving on the mark comments but I honestly do not think that he has been rude or crass at any point in the show and as such he should still be respected.

Then there are some who comment about how the judges are looking for stupid things like Taalam – Taalam simply put is the ability for a dance to be in beat with the song. This is definitely not a stupid thing and this should be the basis for judging any dance performance. Then there were those who criticised the judges for saying their favorites so openly. I’m sorry but I just think that we Indians are a malcontented bunch. Last year, when NUS won and the judges openly said they had wanted for Acidhouz to win, everyone was okay with it and criticised SMS voting. This year when SMS voting seems to be outshadowing the judges’ decisions, we are critcising the judges decisions? ( I do not intend to start a spate of debates on NUS vs Acidhouz because honestly both teams are the least bothered by this anymore).

But really, why is it that its in our nature to constantly dispute things especially when its said by a fellow Indian. Why can’t we accept that in every competition there will be winners and losers. Some are favoured and some aren’t. It is impossible to please everyone, and if it did, it will be the most boring show to watch. The judges have been placed there FOR their opinions and I think the only time a judge will be useless is if they were to say “no comments” or something like that.

On the whole, the more you hate or like a judge or a team, the more extreme your views get, the more controversy starts, the more you will watch the show and the more money the production company gets. Congratulations to all of you because your anger has profited another individual.

Remember people, its only in Indian organised competitions that you get to see so many Indians being given the opportunity to showcase their talents and their abilities. If this was an external competition, the proportion of Indians would have been much lower because of the racial distribution in the country. That would mean that you’d hardly see an Indian taking the centrestage. Here, the opportunities have been given, but if we constantly misuse it and abuse our power as an audience – no production company will come forward to organise such a competition and then we can go back to being unheard of.

So please folks, grow up.


  1. hey love. interesting post you have here. Surprisingly, i did blog about the same topics on mine and i realised you did as well when i decided to snoop around. Btw, just a small thing. my link is now http://www.gracybracy.wordpress.com. just update on your links column ya. 🙂 cheers

  2. “Why is it that we assume that someone is only fit to be a judge because they have danced? Does that mean that we as an audience don’t have the right to make comments about a dance until we’ve performed on television? Does this mean that if someone sings terribly, you’re not allowed to pass a comment until you’ve sung a song yourself? Dance is universal and everyone has a right to their opinion. I don’t think anyone is incapable of judging a dance performance.”

    Hi Aarthi,

    FYI, I am one of them who’s strictly against Vijendran being there as a judge.

    I think your comparison makes no sense whatsoever. You are comparing the judges to any Tom, Dick or Harry to the road. So it other words are you trying to say anyone who wants to make a comment is good enough to sit in the judges panel and decide the fates of these dancers? I beg to differ. 🙂

    Dance is universal and I believe in any competition, a judge must be someone who knows what he’s judging about in the first place. What’s the point of just dissing people to try to attain the position of a local indian ‘Simon Cowell’?

    And when he finds out that his move is working to his disadvantage, he plays Mr.Nice and tries his best to nod his head to whatever his fella judges say. In other words, he can’t decide for himself on which team is good on which is not.

    If you’re not convinced enough, just watch the clips on Dhool from the start. Observe him especially last week and you’ll see how much he’s trying agree with Lavanya after she put him down the week before. The end of the show made me laugh my guts out. The man who was silent all the while suddenly erupted that he was so very unhappy that a particular group was out, and this was only after Lavanya and other judge mentioned it.

    In my opinion, his existence there does not make a difference. The competition would do better with just the two lady judges.

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