Tamil Movies

Neethaanea En Ponvasantham – 3

Please read the first and second parts here and here

So Varun meets Nithya who is now a caretaker/teacher for children who had been affected by the 2004 Tsunami. Varun is on a mission to apologize profusely about the breakup that happened 3-4 years back. He claims that he had drafted a number of emails that he hadn’t come around to posting. He stalks her (See Note 1).

But really, how much should you sulk before accepting an olive leaf? Nithya seems to know why she was dumped a few years back with some clarity. She asks him if he has come to tick the next checkbox after fulfilling his other ambitions. That is a neat way of putting what he was doing at that point. She has obviously mulled over it at some length. Personally I feel it is wrong to waltz in and out of people’s lives expecting them to not ask why you are leaving and why you are back. I can see that he is wrong. But did Nithya spend any time at all worrying his dreams and ambitions? Does she ever worry about her not being sensitive enough of his fears, doubts? Is she able to put herself in his shoes and see what it will be like to be him? In short, was Nithya ever empathetic? Can you truly be in love when you know a problem but refuse to empathize with the problem?

And does Varun ever consider that he is pushing Nithya into an abyss of self-doubt and confusion and possibly depression? Does he stop to think that rich people are humans who can get vulnerable and hurt too? Would honesty have been too difficult? Come to think of it, honesty would have been too difficult. Imagine what he would have told her, had he vocalized what was inside his head. “Nithya, I can’t marry you without at least above-average money and job prospects. I am not very confident right now. I hope to take a break from our relationship to become a full-on studious and workaholic big bore for a few years. Please find yourself in the meantime. You need that too. If I do make as much money as I hope to, then I will come back to your life. Accept me after a decent 2 hour sulk. If that does not work, I will marry a middle class girl and you marry a upper class guy”

Yes. I can see that honesty would have been terribly difficult for a guy at his position.
I have a huge dislike for Romance movies that waste a huge chunk of their running time on that problem called ego. In my opinion, If you can’t approach an individual and openly say that he/she means a lot to you, then you aren’t really in love. That is why I hated that trash called Kushi. But here, the ego seems believable. She did shower him with so much attention and feeling hurt when dumped like that rings true and his reason rings true too.

Here he says one more thing that sounds completely alright on his side and atrociously low in her side. It is “look you have grown as a person only because I jilted you”. Is this true or untrue? Is this fair or unfair? It is undoubtedly complicated. Would Nithya have gone so far in helping Tsunami victims if she had just continued to be who she was and just obsessed with what she can buy for Varun’s birthday? Did he really do her a favor by withdrawing affection? Did she owe Varun any thankfulness for having dumped her at the time when she was beginning to waste away as a person? Did she need a shock treatment to get her ass out of the supersoft comfort that she was used to?

I was vaguely reminded of the song “A boy named Sue” by Johnny Cash in which a father abandons his son at early childhood and claims that this tough son is as tough as he is because he gave his son such a girly name. That maybe a different POV. Some people grow in spite of you acting like a jackass. Some people may, in fact, grow because you acted like a jackass. But that is no reason why you should act like a jackass and then act mighty proud of it.

What would have happened if Nithya and Varun had had more clear talks about their financial disparity? What would have happened if they actually cared to forgive? There is a sweet speech that Nithya gives at the elocution competition that forgiveness is the best gift you can give yourself.

Perhaps we should actually take to the heart the things we mention in elocution speeches and essay writing competitions. Perhaps we already know what is to be done.

Note 1: There is a school of thought that says following your ex around is very different from stalking a stranger and so it should not be called stalking. Personally I don’t feel so. Nithya is not intimidated or scared about Varun’s presence and merely slighted about have been dumped in favor of another priority. But this is different from saying that it is not stalking at all. How an ex-GF reacts to being stalked by an ex-BF may well depend on whether she perceived him as impulsive and vengeful or otherwise during the course of their relationship. A complete hand-wave seems a bit unfair (to me).

Note 2: I absolutely hated the entire jilting the bride at the altar. And I am not the only one. Most people I know consider it a deal breaker. I pretend that the segment did not exist in the movie. Works well for me.