When we put the words 'dream' and 'cinema' along with each in a readable sequence, images from inspirational movies with overt messaging on the lines of passion, commitment and hard work comes to mind almost instinctively.
We see and imagine beads of sweat dripping down, a glorified struggle, an antagonist fueling fire to the passion behind the lead's goal and in the end, a celebrated achievement, leaving us motivated to chart out a plan of action. Cue the song 'Singapenney' and images of teamwork and diligence from films like Bigil, Bhaag Milka Bhaag and the likes.
When we speak of dreams and cinema we envisage a grand scheme. Though incorporating a meek struggle, it glosses over the possibilities of failure as well as the hurdles posed by social stratification. The few films that showcase a realistic portrayal are either left forgotten or engage with a limited audience.
Unlike the usual screenplay of realizing a great goal films like Kakka Muttai speak of humbler dreams, albeit making strong and underlying statements about privilege and goal realisation. We see the two kids hoping to enter a Pizza Hut and a City Center; places that we inhabit without any inhibitions, only to be thrown out of the first and acknowledge that they would never be allowed entry into the second. At face value it seems to be an appropriate representation of childlike innocence. A meaningful introspection however brings out a deeper message about privilege. Kakka Muttai, however remains, a unique one among many.
Dream representation in films takes various shapes. Dreams may form the core of the film graph in the form of a journey of a character/characters and at other times, they form tools of simply taking the story ahead.
Case in point, the ability to wear slippers in Asuran is a privilege awarded to the powerful classes only. It remains a hazy dream for the rest. Here, the realisation of a simple dream performs the function of adding to the division between haves and have-nots as shown in the story line.
On account of glorified depiction of privileged struggles, films like To Let and the likes that describe urban limitations to the achievement of dreams by a struggling class of people remain a niche commodity within the shelf of adrenaline charged motivational stories. As social questions begin to creep into screen portrayals, one hopes to see a representation of dreams of the marginalised. While we acknowledge dreams through cinema, we must also realise the unacknowledged ambitions of those who are equipped like us with the ability to dream.
- Sivaranjani V