Director Suseenthiran had courted controversy during the audio launch of his latest movie Eeswaran. He was criticized for the way he behaved with Nidhhi Agerwal on the stage. He badgered her to say sweet things about Simbu, the lead actor of the film. And if you thought that it was just a lapse of judgment on Suseenthiran’s part, you might change your opinion after you watch Eeswaran. The movie is nothing but a two-hour-long verbal and visual flow of cues that reinforce the patriarchal view of women’s subservient role to men in a family.
Take, for example, Nidhhi Agerwal’s character. She is a well-educated modern girl. But, her character doesn’t reflect the aspirations of a girl of 2021. She is upset with her elder sister, played by Nandita Swetha, because she married someone else after breaking up with Eeswaran (Simbu).
Confused. Here’s the back story.
Eeswaran and Nandita’s character were in love three years ago. But, their whirlwind romance hits a dead-end, when their aspirations don’t match. Eeswaran wants to spend the rest of his life in the service of his father Periyasamy (Bharathiraja), but Nandita’s character wants something else. They both part ways. She gets married to someone else and moves on with her life. But, Nidhhi’s character sort of feels that her sister betrayed Eeswaran and wants to get back at her by flirting with him. How could one justify such a behaviour of a young girl? Why can’t Suseenthiran imagine a smart girl who can act and speak on her own terms? Why should a leading lady bend over backwards to ingratiate herself to the hero?
And then, there is the stream of sweeping generalizations uttered by Simbu that takes us back to his old movies when he behaved like he had a great authority on the subject of love and break-ups. Different versions of “girls are like that only, bro” find a place in Eeswaran. The only thing you can do is slap your head in disbelief that you are still watching such stuff in 2021.
Simbu faced a lot of ridicule when he became overweight. Later, he went on a strict vegan diet and adopted a multidisciplinary workout regime to knock out all the extra kilos and get back to his old shape. So he had the first-hand experience of what it means to be body-shammed. It can’t be pleasant after all. But, in Eeswaran, he laughs when his niece body-shames his obese friend. It seems except for his body-weight, Simbu hasn’t changed much.
All this film manages to do is reinforce outdated views on all things under the sun.