Romance is the most experimented genre in cinema, with elderly romance seeing the most nuanced portrayal of them all. Romance in movies is often an expression of hopes & promises. But, the adventures, couple goals and the constant need to impress the other, fade away as one gets older and leaves one with a single value on which every human relationship is constructed – understanding. As one ages, one becomes physically immobilised, restricting outdoor exploration to medical check ups and family gatherings. Life mostly revolves around the one person who has hung around for the longest time. The portrayal of this bond in movies is simply scintillating.
Pa Paandi for instance, speaks about the one piece both Rajkiran and Revathi miss in their lives. Rajkiran on one hand being restricted by a strict son and Revathi on the contrary having the maximum freedom a 60 year old could fathom, need the same thing in life- companionship.
Subtlety in elderly romance is a well crafted art in cinema. The melodramatic fight in Pannaiyarum Padminiyum, with the actors calling each other names (kizhavan and kizhavi) while searching for the car keys. The dialogue pre-climax by Chellamma to Pannaiyar, hiding the feeling of her missing the car, but convincing him that it was not about the car but about ‘her being in the car with him’, can never be carried out in a youthful plot.
In Mudhal Mariyadhai, the lonesome Sivaji Ganesan allowing Radha to apply medicine on his wounded palm, gently with a peacock feather, is a symbolic portrayal of the whole plot of the movie. The injured palm being Sivaji’s marriage and the feather alleviating the pain of having ‘Radha in his life’, makes the audience sympathise with the antagonist. Bharathi raja being the genius he is, has left the scene uncluttered, with just the transition of frames from the palm to Sivaji’s face to the rain outside and to Radha’s face, allowing only Ilayaraja to score. When the frame finally freezes in on Sivaji's face showing such longing, the emotion built up is released like the first whistle of a pressure cooker with Janaki’s voice singing Vettiveru Vaasam.
Characters like these and the meticulous crafting of the scenes speak about the miseries and complexities involved in relationships, sometimes taking an extra step by proposing solutions for such diabolic situations. Prakash Raj taking care of his sick wife in Ok Kanmani makes us realise the need for a partner who can make us run those extra miles as we age. They make us realise, even the old have wants and needs that could only be fulfilled by a soul companion. It is never too late to fall in love, as Benjamin Franklin says, “Those who love deeply never grow old, they may die of old age but they die young”.
- Staeny Suthan