Shadow of the Night Vs Gargi – Portrayal and Discussion of Female Characters


Written and directed by director Radhakrishnan Parthiban, who is known for acting differently and is known for thinking differently about anything, ‘Shadow of the Night’, which is the world’s first non-linear single shot cinema, was released with great anticipation.

After 2017’s ‘Richie’, director Gautham Ramachandran’s second film ‘Kargi’. There was some expectation on this film as Sai Pallavi played the lead role.

The portrayal of female characters in these two films, which released on July 15, has been a subject of debate.

‘Gargi’ bravely and honestly documents how our society deals with the rape of girls.

It made all the viewers to introspect what we would do if the perpetrators of sex crimes were a member of our family, a member of our household or a person worthy of our love and respect. In that way, ‘Gargi’ is very important in the movies that talked about sexual violence.

This film has made the audience feel that those who are truly opposed to sex crimes should not show any qualms in opposing the crime without any compromise or saljab and supporting the punishment of the perpetrator if the people closest to them are criminals.

In addition, parents watching this film will get the courage to bring up their male children who will never dream of engaging in sexual crimes and molesting women.

Sai Pallavi played a brilliant role as a daughter who takes up the fight to rescue her father who is imprisoned for raping a girl. Her character designs better reflect the welcome change in Tamil cinema of independent, confident, brave and honest women as the lead characters.

Casting a transgender woman as a self-confident and morally conscientious judge in ‘Kargi’ and casting transgender Sudha in it is a step forward in shaping transgender characters and creating a space for them in mass productions.

The first half hour of the film ‘Shadow of the Night’ shows the making of the film. It can be felt that everyone involved in the film, including Parthiban, who has written and directed the film, has put in sweat and blood.

In order to complete the film in one shot, no matter where there was a mistake in the shooting, after starting the shooting again from the beginning 21 times, it is the 22nd time that they completed the entire film in one step.

But the portrayal and dialogues of some of the female characters in the film reveal very old and backward ideas about women. In the film, Nandu (Parthipan), the main character, commits many crimes and rises to become a comfortable and influential man. Four women come into his life. Two of them deceive him. A girl tells him she loves him and is in a relationship with someone else.

In films directed by Parthiban such as ‘Kudaikkein Rami’, ‘Othda Cheruppu’ and ‘Yaravin Shito’, women are constantly shown as cheating men.

There are women who cheat. But by constantly portraying women like this in his films, Parthiban is knowingly or unknowingly reinforcing the generalized masculinity idea that women are easy to deceive men.

Also, many double entenders in the film reveal the attitude of treating women as sexual commodities.

This is not a charm for Parthipan, a seasoned creator who has earned the respect of the masses. Respect for his varied endeavors and his love and dedication towards cinema. But her credit makes more sense if we ignore the problems with designing female characters.

– Nandan

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