What is that about our faculty of vision that has captivated poets, writers and filmmakers for generations? It is true that Eyes are the window to the soul, they offer an unadulterated truth in the depths of its abyss which is quite contradictory to the words that come out of their mouth. Without exception, Tamil Cinema too has tried to capture the mystique, reality and the unwavering beauty that they hold and convey.
One writeup would not suffice to do justice to this, but I will try to bring together everything under this spectrum. Sundari Kannal Oru Sethi manages to document the tumult of emotions that the girl goes through. In its 7 minute run-time, we see a graceful Shobana beaming with hope and reminiscing the time spent with the man she loves. Strawberry Kanne tries to paint an image of an apple that is born with a silver spoon on a sharp tongued Priya (Kajol), who nonchalantly replies that "Kanavan Sevaiyil Inbam Illai, Manidha sevaiyil sergaiyil thunbam illai”.
Kannalane is a lament of the girl who is forlorn in her love for a man with whom she hasn't even exchanged names with. She equates it to losing her eyesight and is haplessly looking for a way out. Manisha Koirala in her vellai with thanga jarigai pattu pavadai is an ethereal representation of a love that transcends all man made boundaries. In Pachai Nirame's "Penmai ezhudhum kan mai nirame", we have an iconic shot of Shalini in the woods decked head to toe in a black salwar, winking her eyes in perfection. Priya warrier who? Nonetheless to say, a decade later in the 2010's Facebook DP's of a lot of girls were nothing but a zoomed in close-up shot of their eyes in various angles and filters.
Who can forget Aishwarya Rai bringing down the roof with her mad dancing skills in "Kannodu Kanbathellam". Caught in a crossfire between two brothers and a lie she made up, in her very first line she utters, "Kannodu kanbathellam thalaiva, kangaluku chondhamillai". What you see in front of you, is a lie and doesn't belong to you to Ramu who believes that Vaishnavi is real. Such wordplay and an energy packed performance. Kannukku Mai Azhagu is an absolute favourite of mine for encompassing all the beauty in the world to a pair of kohl-rimmed eyes. When we see Hemanika smearing kajal in her eyes, an atomic explosion takes place in Sathyadev's heart which he aptly puts into, "Karu karu kangalaal kayalvizhi kolgiraal, valithaalum edho sugam". If despite all this you have someone angry at you, don't think twice before breaking into an apology with "Kannal pesum penne ennai mannipaaya".
- Rakshana Raghavan