Payanigalin Kanivaana Gavanathirku is the only background voice that I can hear in my imagination right now. If you can hear it too, then Mani Sir’s iconic Tambaram station with Maddy and Shalini discussing, “Unaku asingamana pondaati amaiya vendikren,” will cross your mind too.
It’s agreed that trains and Mani sir are inseparable. He is, in fact, a trendsetter for train and station romance, with his Mouna Raagam, Alaipayuthey and OK Kanmani catering to every generation. But my early memory of train romance dates back even before the Mouna Raagam period.
They say that eyes convey a lot of emotions when words fail to.
What more to cite as an example other than the legendary train scene from ‘Thillana Mohanambal’ where Sivaji Ganesan and Padmini romance amidst the dim-lit compartment that has a screen running in the background, with the actors subtle jerks giving us a moving train experience.
Romance in a public area is mostly limited to exchanging understanding glances between the lovers and holding hands, and in a crowded place like the train, that is exactly the highest form of communication unless you’re in an AC compartment of a GVM film. The contrast between these two movies can be seen with the changing culture, society and train compartments. What was once a dying need for body friction transgressed to getting physical in the closed space.
But one can’t associate train romance with just trains alone. Almost most of the stories begin at the railway station. One such noted love story is ‘Jayam’. With ‘Kannamoochi re re’ melodic humming in the background, the beautiful chemistry between Jayam Ravi and Sadha begins in the station while Sadha ties her anklets. Admiration, yearning, romance, survival – it’s a wholesome mosaic.
‘Enakku 20, Unakku 18’ was another blockbuster that started the love story in a train and ended with one too. This movie and Vaaranam Aayiram benchmarked us into thinking that one can find love in train compartments too. Oh boy, how we wish Indian Railways co- operate with us!
Back in those days, all of us have our summer holiday memories of going through the reservation chart, not to find our seat number but to check if there’s an opposite gender of the same age in the same compartment. Who else other than GVM with VTV and Vaaranam Aayiram would make us do that?
But one might also chance upon interesting characters like Siva in camouflage joggers posing as an Army personnel and Shakthi under the pretext of an Air Hostess.
Not to forget the most loved screenplay of Cuckoo – the love between two blind people and the train that unites them. Tamizh and Kodi travelling on the edge of the train, their hands one on top of the other, holding onto the single rod with the wind on their faces is an unforgettable scene.
To top this all, the movie ‘5 star’, its train scene and the song is my all-time favourite with our handsome Prasanna singing ‘Rayile Rayile.’
Which better song can describe love at first sight’s ‘Nammala potu thaakanum, thalageela potu thirupanum’ than this song’s “Radhiyai paarka nirpaaya? Paarthaal ne, en pol thadam puralvaai.”
Let’s hope the ticket reservation system of Indian Railways plays cupid in our lives too. If not an ‘Omana Penne’ song, at least a ‘Nenjukkul peidhidum’ where we take her home in our imagination would suffice.
Kaathirupom. Munnarivipindri varum adhan varugaiyai idhayam urakka sollum.
- Dhevapriya R J