Tamil Cinema’s Obsession With Mirrors

Mirrors by far are just objects to a few people, but in Tamil Cinema the creators try to give utmost importance to even the littlest of things and mirrors are one of them.

Rewinding back to 1997, we have Minsara Kanavu which is mostly referred to as a musical more than a film and there’s no doubt that the songs in Minsara Kanavu are an all-time classic. Whether it’s Deva refusing to the customer in the salon when she tells him to turn on the music, afraid that he’ll lose control and start dancing or in “Strawberry Kanne” when he’s called- “zoo lendhu thapichu vandha korangu”  by Kajol when she asks whether he looks at himself in the mirror after he mocks her. Both of these scenes depict the wittiness and spontanity of Kajol and Prabhudeva, who made the movie more fun and lively for all the audiences.

Coming to Mani Ratnam, we all know that he’s somewhat obsessed with mirrors and not only that he always manages to perfect the scenes which always has a place in our hearts. In Alaipayuthey, when Poorni asks Shakthi whether she’s in love and she replies saying  “summa paatha kadhal varuma?” and to that her sister instantly tells “appo kaalaila 8:55 ku nadanthatha ippo yedhuku solra?”. In this scene the mirror clearly is the star which helps us to find out that Shakthi is shy and is mildly interested in Karthik with her expressions.

OK Kanmani is more of just a modern version of Alaipayuthey and for those who have watched this movie, you will know the number of times mirrors have been used beautifully in this movie. although many people mention the mirrors used in the song ‘Aye Sinamika’, the scene where Adhi goes to pick out his suit when he’s about to move to New York and Tara is sitting next to the mirror teary-eyed. She’s trying so hard to keep up a happy face but instead she just can’t let go of Adhi and this scene is really special cause it shows how much she loves him.

Aruvi has to be one of the many films that is close to my heart. The whole film tells us about the story of Aruvi, a free-spirited girl and her problems and views about the society. The film in itself has some really beautiful frames. Let it be the frame where Aruvi applies kohl and looks at her in the mirror or the scene where her teacher pinches her hand and she rushes to the washroom in disgust to wash the area on her hand he touched her shows that she doesn’t only love herself but is also a girl who reacts really quickly be it a happy or an incident of frustration.

Not only during romance but when it comes to frustration we can rewind back to Vaaranam Aayiram where Suriya as a teenager hates the fact that an elder guy hit him for talking to a girl. Suriya trying to practice in front of the mirror to hit him back definitely would relate to anyone’s teenage phase in their life.

Not only scenes but even in songs like “Hey Baby” from Raja Rani we have a newly married couple - Regina and John (Nayanthara and Arya) who are battling their relationship from their own sides. The sequence where they two get ready in front of the mirror and imagine hitting each other surely brought out a laugh from everyone. We also have songs like “Thuli Thuli”  from Paiya  where Karthi's trying to find his girl and they just cross each with a mirror being carried away behind them.

Not only the above examples but there are many more scenes from movies like Kaatru Veliyidai, Iruvar, Oh My Kadavule, Game Over, etc where even if the scene lasts for 5 seconds the mirror used in the scene conveys a lot. Even while I’m writing this I’m trying to convince a person from a really long time to watch a movie but  all I’d like to say is this line-

“kannadi munnai pol ennangal koorai”( kanukkul pothivaipen)

If you get it, you get it.

Written by

- Advika

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