Offensive Personal Opinions, Personal Stories

Neeya Naana

Neeya Naana is a talk show where they take an issue that has no solution, debate over it for an hour, and end by bringing in an expert who says the issue has no solution.

I don’t watch Neeya Naana at home, because my parents are educated. I was forced to watch Neeya Naana at a hair salon while waiting for my turn. What kind of hair salon plays Neeya Naana, you ask? Well, it was my local barber shop. I’ll still call it a salon because I want him to make it in life, and secretly rebel against the rampant classist capitalism in society. Secretly, because I also want to be a classist capitalist one day AKA rich. I want to be so rich that people call me opulent. Yes, I want them to upgrade their lexicon to financially categorize my stature in society. Back to Neeya Naana.

The episode in question was about parenting: Should you be strict with your kids, or let them be free range? And, here’s the kicker – they’d allowed these people to bring their kids along. Imagine sitting through a PTA meeting, and finding out your parents were the ones flunking all along. Not just your parents, EVERY parent in the vicinity! But, kids being kids, all they cared about was being on TV. So, while some obediently sat on their parent’s lap, there were a few others dressed in floral themes running around the set, adding to the ambiance of an otherwise dull debate.

As an adult, it was excruciating to sit through this. I could only manage it because there was a guy with a blade and scissors, hacking away at my head. The debate was mostly one-sided. The protective ones were trying to go the Dark Knight route. “I’m the parent my child deserves, not the one it needs right now.” That was their disclaimer before getting into how borderline creepy they were being with their kids, all in the name of protection.

One parent said she’d never let her sons use public restrooms on their own. If the door to the stall was a foot off the floor, she’d make sure their shoes were visible AND she’d make them sing until they were done. Another parent said she wouldn’t allow her kids to stay at their grandparents’ house because she didn’t think the elders knew how to raise “new-age” kids. She also went on to say elders don’t know what to feed #kidsthesedays and almost everything they’d give her kid in her absence might lead to intestinal death. At which point, my barber cut in with, “Ey, your parents raised you properly only, no? They can’t raise your child, ah? ADING!” (There’s something terrorizing about a man with a blade standing behind you and spewing angry advice at a TV screen, while you get to stare at your hair sprinkled face, hoping this isn’t how you will turn up at the gates of hell.)

These people didn’t believe in survival of the fittest. They believed in survival of the Stockholm.

The other side was all about how such strict parenting will result in kids becoming socially retarded. Freeya vidardhu, as they put it, was all about letting your kid figure shit out on their own, and realizing they aren’t going to be handheld all the time. Another person said the primary role of a parent must be to say no to their kid(s) whenever they make demands. Apparently, this way, the child would develop exposure to rejection much early in life, and learn that the world is not all about them. I don’t disagree. But, the flipside is, if every parents’ first response is “No!” they will end up in denial and their kids will label them senile.

Kid: I want chocolate

Parent: No!

A few years later…

Kid: I want to be an artist

Parent: No!

A few weeks later…

Kid: I might not be straight. I want to explore my sexuality and…

Parent: NOOOOOO!

See what I mean?

The rest of the “leave them be” argument was all about parents telling everyone how their kids were able to manage everyday tasks without being whiny bitches.

Finally, there were two things both sides agreed on.

  1. Parenting has become a competition. It’s not about the kids anymore. It’s about being the best amongst their peers. They didn’t see their children as human beings. Their offspring was an object, a prized possession they didn’t want anyone else touching or taking away. Basically, they’re all being shitty manufacturers by not making any changes to their product until the release date, and then fucking around with it because they can’t provide guarantee or warranty. They’re the human version of Richie Street.                                                                                                                                                   
  2. This issue has no solution.


Roasts and Toasts

The Toast of Vikram Vedha

After Batman, Vikram Vedha has arguably the catchiest theme (TANA-NANA-NANA-NAA…. TANA-NANA-NANA-NAA). After Joker, Vedha is the next worst guy you’ll want to root for. This film is a delirious mix of Vikram Vethal and The Dark Knight. For the uninitiated, Vikram and Vethal, is the story of King Vikramaditya and his adventures with the Vethal (poltergeist/ghoul). Poltergeists are supposed to be noisy beings who damage property. Thala Ajith’s Vethalam was loosely based on this premise.

A sage asks King Vicky to go to the forbidden forest and bring back the Vethal. King Vicky says “Easy peasy lemon squeezy” and sets out. When he finally faces the Vethal, King Vicky realizes his adversary isn’t an easy target. The Vethal plays more hard to get than a Tinder match who holds strong ideals of feminism, independence, and has high standards. So, King Vicky instead turns the tables and says “only here for friendship”. This gets the Vethal talking. The Vethal promptly lays down some ground rules. The Vethal states that he will ride on King Vicky’s back, and as they make their way back to the sage, King Vicky will have to listen to a story. At the end of the story, Vethal will ask him a question in the form of a riddle. If King Vicky doesn’t know the answer, the Vethal will stay with him, answer the riddle, and move onto the next story. If King Vicky knows the answer and doesn’t respond, his head will explode. If King Vicky responds correctly, Vethal will fly back to his tree, because “if you know errthang, why you need me for, biatch?”

King Vicky agrees to all of the above while mumbling “this clingy bitch right here.” He also notes that if prenups had these clauses, divorce rates would drop steeply, because ain’t nobody getting married if they know exactly what they’re getting into. Now, back to Vikram Vedha.

Madhavan plays Vikram, an encounter specialist, with a broad frame and broader smile. He is headstrong and prides himself on knowing he is always on the right side of the law. He can come back home after a long day of feeding bullets to goons and sleep like a baby, because he knows he has never killed an innocent human being. Vikram is your happy-go-lucky death dealer. This is established in the opening sequence, where Vikram and his squad take a gang by storm. Vikram clocks the most kills, but spots a runner. Instead of chasing after him, Vikram takes a walk in the park while twirling his glock. When the rowdy hits a dead end, he turn around and surrenders, and this annoys Vikram. He responds with, “You could’ve surrendered back there. The fuck did you make me come after you? Okay, tell me a joke and I’ll let you live.” The felon cracks a below average pun. Vikram is not amused and shoots the kills. Lesson for budding comedians: it’s a kill or be killed world out there. Better be ready for the day a cop comes after you with a gun, and all you can do to save yourself is tell a good joke.

Vijay Sethupathi is the best buy one get one free deal in Kollywood. You sign him, you get his acting skills for free. Not for sale individually. His performance as Vedha will surprise audiences once again. Right from the start, it’s clear that Vedha isn’t evil incarnate. He is the bad guy, because the good guys wouldn’t have a job otherwise. He is in the logistics business, and people get hurt once in a while. Every time he faces off with Vikram, he distracts him and gets away; leaving Vikram with answers to find. He teaches Vikram to look at both sides of the coin, instead of simply stopping with calling heads or tails. The story ends with Vikram and Vedha fighting side by side – forced to be brothers in arms due to circumstances. Finally, Vikram and Vedha have a Mexican stand-off, and it’s Vikram’s turn to riddle Vedha – “Should I let you go because you fought by my side, or should I kill you right here because that’s my job? Which is right?”

THE END. The best cliffhanger ending I’ve ever witnessed in Kollywood yet.

The supporting cast has also done well. There are two female characters (Priya and Chandra), and no item songs. There’s also a strong sense of casual feminism.

Priya is Vikram’s wife. She has tattoos, a serious job, and doesn’t exist just to make her man feel better about himself. She is a lawyer who hates cops. Vikram is a cop who hates lawyers. This friction brings them together, and thus begins a flashback song montage of their courtship. There’s a lot of insinuated sex, and they go to bed wearing normal clothes. It is time we acknowledged that lingerie and lip-biting isn’t always part of foreplay. On their first night, Vikram and Priya take the couch and pass out. Again, it is time we acknowledged that the wedding ceremony takes a physical toll on the bride and groom, and they’re too tired to even think of sex. When Vikram realizes Priya is Vedha’s attorney, he tries to get her to drop the case. Priya responds with “Why don’t you drop the case? Your work is work, but mine isn’t?”

Chandra also has her moments – when she gets slapped, she slaps back; when someone tries to intimidate her, she puts them in their place.

The soundtrack is great, and the songs have replay value. Karuppu Vellai is the recurring theme, and Yaanji serves as the romantic montage number. Tasakku Tasakku is the actual item numbers, where the bad guys have some fun dancing to their own tunes with a side of booze. The rest of the songs seem like they were made by the music director simply because he got commissioned for the job – much like a content writer who has to meet deadlines because they got paid ahead of time in full. The movie has a lot of subtle humor peppered in the most intense scenes, but the grit and pace of the thriller is maintained. You can tell there’s a lot of tension in the movie simply by checking out Madhavan’s nipples. After Batman, his nipples are the sharpest. This might also explain why he never wears a bulletproof vest.